* Zurich-based Credit Suisse Group AG named Khalid al-Ghamdi CEO in Saudi Arabia, effective in September, insiders told Reuters. Al-Ghamdi is currently managing director of Mizuho Saudi Arabia.
* Canada-based online payments firm Nuvei Technologies has completed its $889 million acquisition of peer SafeCharge International Group Ltd. Following deal completion, SafeCharge delisted its shares on the London Stock Exchange. The newly merged firm will continue to operate and expand SafeCharge's Tel Aviv development center, Globes reported.
GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
* The financial intelligence units of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen their cooperation against money laundering and financial terrorism, according to news agency WAM.
* The move by most central banks in the Gulf region to cut lending rates last week could stimulate non-oil growth, attract foreign investments, and lower the risk of further declines in the real estate sector, The National wrote, citing the Institute of International Finance. The IIF also expects more pressure on the net interest margins of banks in the region, particularly those more focused on consumer lending.
* Alinma Bank's second-quarter net profit rose to 676 million Saudi Arabian riyals from the year-ago 606 million riyals. The bank's net profit for the first half also increased year over year, to 1.31 billion riyals from 1.17 billion riyals.
* Alinma Bank CEO Abdulmohsen al-Fares said the bank's market share in term of financing has grown at a good rate, which currently stands at 7%, while the bank's investment portfolio grew by 31% to 21 billion Saudi Arabian riyals, Argaam reported. Speaking to CNBC Arabia, al-Fares noted that this is the first quarter were Zakat is deducted from net profits and not from property rights as per the previous standards.
* Abu Dhabi Financial Group has completed its merger with Shuaa Capital PSC and raised its authorized capital to 2.54 billion UAE dirhams from 1.07 billion dirhams. The capital increase follows the admission of 1,470,720,000 new shares, representing 58% of Shuaa Capital, in favor of Abu Dhabi Capital Management LLC. The new shares are subject to a 12-month lockup.
* Al Rayan Bank PLC, a British unit of Qatari lender Masraf Al Rayan QPSC, is allegedly providing financial services to several U.K. organizations with ties to Islamists, according to an analysis by The Times.
* Capital Intelligence Ratings affirmed the long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency ratings of Kuwait at AA-/A1+, with a stable outlook.
* Bahrain-based Ithmaar Holding BSC intends to voluntarily delist from Boursa Kuwait, subject to regulatory approvals in Bahrain and Kuwait. The company will continue to be listed on the Bahrain Bourse and the Dubai Financial Market.
* National Bank of Bahrain BSC appointed Essa Masih head of risk management, Al-Watan reported. He is the first Bahraini national to hold such position.
REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* Iranian lender Bank Maskan will enter the regulated foreign exchange market, which is set to open Aug. 12, Financial Tribune reported, citing Firouzeh Tabari, the bank's department for international affairs head.
* The Central Bank of Egypt has introduced a risk-free interest rate benchmark called the Cairo Overnight Interbank Average, or CONIA, developed in cooperation with commercial banks and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
* The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development plans to open two more offices in Egypt by 2020 as part of its expansion in the North African nation, Amwal Al Ghad reported, citing Janet Heckman, the lender's managing director for the southern and eastern Mediterranean.
* Egyptian central bank Governor Tarek Amer has been elected vice-chairperson for Northern Africa sub-region of the Association of African Central Banks for 2019 to 2020, according to Amwal Al Ghad.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Nigeria-based NPF Microfinance Bank Plc plans to launch an IPO to raise more funds, The Punch wrote, citing the bank's CEO, Akinwunmi Lawal. The bank is hoping that the planned offering would be largely subscribed so it can keep on distributing dividends for over 20 consecutive years.
* Access Bank PLC priced 30 billion Nigeria naira in Tier 2 bonds due to mature in 2026. The bonds will be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
* The Bank of Ghana could shutter about 20 more ailing savings and loans companies within the next few weeks, an insider told Citi Business News. The central bank earlier canceled the licenses of 37 firms as part of its cleanup of the sector.
* Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo approved the New Companies Act, a new law that would improve the process of doing business in the country and reduce the cost of ensuring compliance for businesses, Joy Business reported.
* China's Yunhong Group announced it would invest 200 billion CFA francs in Burkina Faso over the next five years, Agence Ecofin reported.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* The South African central bank said it was aware of Africapacity's intention to acquire all or part of collapsed lender VBS Mutual Bank but noted that banking licenses are not transferrable to it. Africapacity should apply for a new license in case it wants to open a bank with the potential acquisition. VBS was placed under liquidation in November last year and its banking license and activities are currently suspended.
* S&P Global Ratings affirmed the CCC+/C long- and short-term sovereign credit ratings of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and revised the outlook on the long-term ratings to positive from stable.
* After 50 years in which insurance was a state monopoly, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has approved its first private insurance operators and launched a regulatory body, the Insurance Regulatory Authority and Control agency, Les Dépêches de Brazzaville reported.
* Angola's central bank said it would offer $500 million in August to the country's commercial banks to meet customers' foreign-currency needs, Novo Jornal reported. The bank rations sales of dollars and euros by holding regular weekly auctions. Local media have recently reported a growing gap between the prices paid for dollars in the official market and the parallel market, where the rate is currently 495 kwanzas per U.S. dollar.
* Angolan state oil company Sonangol will retain its 19.49% stake in Portugal's largest listed bank, Millennium BCP, and other shareholdings in companies in the former colonial power, news portal Macauhub reported. Sonangol representatives said the company's board of directors had decided to maintain the stake in BCP "at relevant levels." Angolan President João Lourenço said Sonangol had been told to withdraw from companies that have nothing to do with its core business, but said earlier this year that the order would not extend to BCP.
* Angola's Banco Kwanza Invest SA, an investment bank whose largest shareholder is Swiss-Angolan businessman Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, is unlikely to continue operating as a separate entity due to a run on deposits and compliance failings, Expansão reported, citing a 2018 audit by Deloitte. It said one possible solution was the sale of Bastos de Morais' 80.2% stake in the bank, a deal that has already been reached with an unnamed Angolan group, according to the report. Bastos de Morais was the founder of Swiss-based asset management company Quantum Global, which was entrusted by the former president's son Filomeno dos Santos with managing almost all the country's $5 billion sovereign wealth fund. The bank has been ordered to present a recovery plan.
* The IMF's executive board expressed concern about Zambia's increasing debt levels, saying "current policies on public debt is on an unsustainable path." The fund urged local authorities to carefully asses the benefits and disadvantages of shifting from a value‑added tax to a sales tax.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Hong Kong, China stock connect update; India fines banks over fraud reporting
Erin Tanchico, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Helen Popper contributed to this report.
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