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Santander posts large profit; Generali surprised by Intesa; Brexit ruling


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Santander posts large profit; Generali surprised by Intesa; Brexit ruling

* ECB Executive Board member Sabine Lautenschläger said the central bank could soon start planning to end its stimulus program, Reuters reports. Lautenschläger noted that all preconditions for a stable increase in inflation are in place.

* U.K.-based banks looking to relocate to the Netherlands after Brexit would be exempt from Dutch corporate remuneration rules that stipulate that bankers' bonuses must not exceed 20% of the base salary, Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem told Dutch broadcaster RTLZ. He added that he is in talks with U.S., Japanese and other Asian banks about the possibility of relocating their European headquarters to the Netherlands.

* Citigroup Inc. will decide by the summer on where to move its London-based broker/dealer services after Britain exits the EU, the Irish Independent reports, citing James Cowles, the bank's CEO for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The group has been in talks with regulators in Ireland, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands in search for a new European base, The Guardian notes. City A.M. also has a report.

* ECB Chief Economist Peter Praet said "a certain level of public risk sharing" is necessary for eurozone banks to flourish, noting that even well-capitalized banks can fall victim to runs and contagion, Reuters writes.


* The British Supreme Court ruled that the government cannot trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty without parliament's go-ahead, although the devolved legislatures of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland need not be consulted. A government spokesperson, however, indicated that the ruling will not delay Britain's exit from the EU, noting that a majority of parliamentarians are expected to vote in favor of triggering Article 50 to leave the bloc.

* HSBC Holdings Plc plans to shutter 62 branches this year, a move that is expected to affect roughly 180 jobs, The Guardian and The Independent report. The bank cited the growing popularity of online and mobile banking as a reason behind the plan. HSBC Bank Plc CEO Antonio Simoes tells the Financial Times that the closures would mark the end of the bank's two-year branch restructuring program.

* HSBC Holdings Plc and Credit Suisse Group AG are among a number of banks that were asked by the Saudi Arabian Oil Co. to pitch for an advisory role in its IPO, the $100 billion estimated size of which makes it the world's largest share sale ever, insiders tell Bloomberg News.


* Deutsche Bank AG is planning to sell off a 25% stake in its subsidiary Deutsche Asset Management and is also considering an IPO for the unit, Handelsblatt reports, adding that the lender's board has not yet made a final decision on the issue.

* Oberbank AG wants to expand further in Germany's Rhine-Main region to serve medium-sized companies, CEO Franz Gasselsberger tells Handelsblatt, adding that the Austrian lender also intends to open eight new branches in both Hungary and the Czech Republic.

* Credit Suisse Group's vice chair of the board of directors, Noreen Doyle, told a financial forum in Dublin that the bank is looking at various EU cities to relocate business from London after Brexit, but she did not specify whether Dublin was one of them, The Irish Times reports.

* UBS Group AG's wealth management division launched a new five-year plan to win more business from wealthy women, a market that is expected to grow by more than 30% over that period to a volume of $18 trillion, reports. The bank is also aiming to increase its ratio of women in management roles from a quarter to a third.

* Shareholders of Raiffeisen Bank International AG approved a capital increase and the lender's proposed merger with Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich AG, Der Standard reports.

* Joh. Berenberg Gossler & Co. KG bought a shipping loan portfolio from Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc worth $300 million, Börsen-Zeitung writes.


* ING Groep NV has put one of its two head offices in Brussels up for sale, according to L'Echo, which contacted ING staff representatives who said they had not been informed about the planned sale. Today, ING will start negotiations about job cuts with unions.

* Banks and insurers have transferred €3.7 billion of forgotten assets to France's Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, according to Les Echos and L'Agefi. These assets were kept for over 10 years before the transfer at the end of 2016, and they will be returned to their owners once they have been identified. If after 30 years the owner of an asset still has not been found, it will be given to the French state.


* Banco Santander SA reported fourth-quarter 2016 profit attributable to the group of €1.60 billion, compared to the year-ago €25 million. For full-year 2016, the bank reported attributable profit of €6.20 billion, up from €5.97 billion a year earlier.

* Grupo Cooperativo Cajamar has set aside €200 million for potential repayments under Spain's contested mortgage-floor clauses, Expansión reports, adding that the cooperative banking group expects to pay no more than that. Cajamar also said it expects to post a consolidated profit of €75 million for 2016, while its solvency and CET1 ratios will exceed ECB requirements.

* Ibercaja Banco SA will increase its provisions for mortgage-floor clauses by €19.9 million to €50 million, Europa Press reports.

* Portuguese investors stand to hold less than a third of the country's largest listed bank, Millennium BCP, after the completion of its 1.33 billion capital increase, Jornal de Negócios reports, noting that Portuguese shareholders held about 60% of BCP in June 2016. In a separate report, the newspaper notes that an estimated 14% of shareholders have opted not to take part in the capital increase.


* Intesa Sanpaolo SpA confirmed for the first time that it is assessing options to strengthen its market positioning in the asset management and bancassurance sectors, including a possible deal with Generali, all dailies including Corriere della Sera write. Generali responded that it was surprised by the lender's statement given that it was not contacted by the company, Il Sole 24 Ore writes. Bloomberg and Reuters also cover.

* UBS will advise Intesa Sanpaolo on a possible deal with Generali that could be worth some €15 billion, including a cash consideration of €3 billion and €12 billion worth of shares, which would be raised through a capital increase, Il Messaggero writes. The daily adds that the initial plan is for Generali to be broken up, with the French, Spanish, Latin American and German assets going to Allianz Group.

* Today and tomorrow, Italian regulator Consob will meet the top management of Generali, Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit SpA — the major shareholder of Mediobanca SpA, which in turn is the major shareholder of Generali — to find out what their intentions are, La Repubblica writes. Reuters also covers.

* In trading on Tuesday, some 19.2 million Mediobanca shares, or 2.2% of its share capital, changed hands, compared to the daily average of just 4.7 million shares in the past month, Il Sole 24 Ore writes.

* Banca Carige SpA aims to sell €2 billion worth of nonperforming loans this year, with a first tranche of over €1 billion expected by March, Il Sole 24 Ore writes. Reuters also covers.


* Nordea Bank AB (publ)'s Danish unit lost almost 40,000 customers in 2016, according to a customer survey by Voxmeter, Finans reports. Analysts consider this a very serious development. The Voxmeter survey also shows that Danske Bank A/S gained 5,000 customers in 2016 the first time since 1999 that the number of the lender's customers has grown.


* Delaware, U.S.-registered company PPF Management filed a lawsuit against PAO Sberbank of Russia, its CEO Herman Gref, investment arm Sberbank Capital and several other companies, Vedomosti reports. The company demands $750 million in material and moral damages over the loss of control of aggregates producer Pavlovskgranit as a result of unpaid loans.

* A company controlled by oil company Rosneft is among three final bidders for Vnesheconombank units Interregional Bank for Settlements of the Telecommunications & Postal Services and GLOBEX Commercial Bank JSC, Kommersant says, adding that the buyer will be chosen in mid-February.

* Bank Millennium SA and mBank SA will not need additional capital following recommendations issued recently by Poland's Financial Stability Committee with regard to lenders holding significant foreign-currency-denominated mortgage portfolios, Reuters reports.

* Bulgarian President Rumen Radev set the date for Bulgaria's snap general election for March 26, following the resignation of the coalition government led by the center-right GERB party in November 2016, SEENews reports. The president also appointed former parliament speaker Ognyan Gerdjikov as caretaker prime minister.


Asia-Pacific: China urged to join Trans-Pacific Partnership; AMP shutters venture capital biz

Middle East & Africa: Kenyan banks face new headache; Aramco seeks IPO advisers

Latin America: Scotiabank Chile open to deals; Banregio's Q4'16 profit up 45%

North America: Bankers sell on Trump rally; British Parliament gets to vote on Brexit

North America Insurance: GOP governors voice concerns over ACA repeal; CMS denies extension to KanCare


* Blockchain could slash settlement times for reinsurance contracts: Blockchain could dramatically shorten the time it takes insurers and reinsurers to settle premiums and claims, but a reluctance by firms to give up control of processes could hinder its adoption.

* Spanish banks hope to draw line under long-running mortgage floor saga: Fresh Spanish legislation regarding floor clauses on mortgage loans will have a short-term upfront cost for banks, but the law could help them resolve a situation that has dragged on for several years, analysts said.

David Hutter, Arno Maierbrugger, Danielle Rossingh, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Thanasis Kakalis, Ali Kayalar, Yael Schrage, Stephanie Salti, Praxilla Trabattoni and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

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