* Italian Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said discussions regarding the EU banking union have stalled amid a stalemate between governments on the issue of risk, Reuters reported. Peter Altmaier, Germany's acting finance minister, said the German government wants European lenders to first reduce risks on their books before the EU can complete the banking union that also includes a bank deposit guarantee scheme across the bloc.
* The European Parliament is working on a resolution outlining its desire for an "association agreement" with the U.K. following its exit from the EU that could include granting the country a special access to the single market, Business Insider wrote.
UK AND IRELAND
* Lloyds Banking Group Plc announced plans for a share buyback of up to £1 billion as it reported full-year 2017 profit attributable to equity holders of £3.46 billion, up from £2.41 billion a year ago. The bank also said it is investing more than £3 billion in strategic initiatives aimed at transforming the company into a digitized U.K. financial services provider, as part of its 2018-2020 strategic plan.
* The U.K. Treasury Select Committee published the "final, un-redacted report" into the alleged mistreatment of small business customers by Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc's now-defunct Global Restructuring Group.
* The boards of Temenos Group AG and Fidessa Group Plc reached an agreement on the terms of a recommended all-cash acquisition by Temenos, through wholly owned subsidiary Temenos Bidco, of the entire issued and to-be-issued ordinary share capital of Fidessa for approximately £1.4 billion.
* AA Plc changed its dividend policy that entails the payment of just 2 pence per share per year until the board is satisfied with the company's profit and free cash flows.
* An outside review found that HSBC Holdings Plc and subsidiary HSBC USA Inc. have made "significant progress" in improving their anti-money laundering and compliance programs since reaching a $1.92 billion settlement with U.S. authorities in 2012, though it also found several areas where the companies need to improve.
* Brooks Macdonald Group Plc named Ben Thorpe group finance director, effective Aug. 20.
* U.K.-based Augmentum Fintech Plc intends to raise at least £100 million through an IPO to invest in private financial technology companies in the U.K. and wider Europe.
* STM Group Plc unit STM Malta Ltd. completed the acquisition of Harbour Pensions Ltd.
* Euroclear Plc will launch an Ireland-based settlement house in March 2019 as a result of the U.K.'s exit from the EU.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* Deutsche Bank AG is planning to launch an IPO of its DWS asset management arm on Feb. 26, insiders told Reuters. The lender is planning to list 25% of DWS' existing shares on the Frankfurt stock exchange in the week of March 19 for an expected €1.5 billion to €2 billion.
* Deutsche Börse AG reported preliminary consolidated net income of €213.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, up from €170.0 million in the year-ago period. Former CEO Carsten Kengeter is negotiating with Deutsche Börse about several million euros of bonus payments he believes he is entitled to under the terms of a complex compensation system, Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote.
* Andreas Dombret will not seek a new term as an executive board member of Deutsche Bundesbank and will resign May 1, Handelsblatt reported, citing government sources.
* Ford Motor Co. expects to establish a bank in Germany in the second half, after its U.K.-based financing arm, Ford Credit Europe, applied for a banking license in the country as part of efforts to offset any risk from the U.K.'s exit from the EU, Reuters reported.
* Michael Ermrich, president of the East German Savings Banks Association, said that the 45 east German savings banks will need €2.2 billion more to reach their minimum capital requirements of cumulative €7.8 billion by 2019, Handelsblatt noted.
* Martin Deckert has been appointed new CFO and chief risk officer by Merck Finck Privatbankiers AG.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* BNP Paribas SA's Luxembourg unit, BGL BNP Paribas SA, agreed to purchase the entire outstanding shares of ABN Amro Group NV's ABN Amro Bank (Luxembourg) SA and its fully owned subsidiary ABN Amro Life SA. The transaction is expected to be finalized by the third quarter.
* Axa agreed with Elkhan Garibli to sell all its insurance operations in Azerbaijan, including nonlife unit AXA MBask Insurance Co. OJSC.
* Ageas SA/NV reported fourth-quarter 2017 net profit attributable to shareholders of €263.5 million, compared to a loss of €90.7 million a year earlier. Full-year 2017 profit came in at €623.2 million, up on a yearly basis from €27.1 million.
* ASR Nederland NV reported full-year 2017 consolidated profit attributable to shareholders of the parent company of €872 million, up from a restated €625 million a year ago.
* Groupe Vyv, the new mutual insurance group formed by the merger of Harmonie, MGEN and Istya, wants to increase market share across all sectors in France and is keen on expanding internationally, with studies being carried out in China, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Les Echos reported.
* A collective of Walloon municipalities is claiming €220 million from the listing of Belfius Banque SA to compensate for losses suffered in the collapse of Dexia SA, according to L'Echo.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* Alfonso Ferrari will replace José Manuel García as nonexecutive chairman of Bankinter SA's investment management arm, Bankinter Gestión de Activos, according to Expansión.
* The Portuguese Treasury must pay back €21.7 million to the bad bank remaining from failed lender Banco Espírito Santo SA, and add €1.6 million in compensation for lost interest, Jornal de Negócios reported. Meanwhile, the public prosecutor's office confirmed the culpable responsibility of 13 former BES executives, including former CEO Ricardo Salgado, for the bank's collapse, the paper reported separately.
* CEFC China Energy Co. Ltd. said it remained committed to buying a 60% stake in Montepio Seguros following reports that the deal had stalled due to the Portuguese insurer's deteriorating accounts, Jornal de Negócios wrote.
ITALY AND GREECE
* Azimut Capital Management SGR SpA, a unit of Azimut Holding SpA, will acquire the going concern business of Italian investment management firm Sofia Gestione del Patrimonio SGR SpA.
* Cassa Centrale Banca Credito Cooperativo del Nord Est SpA is preparing the sale of some €2.5 billion in nonperforming loans over three years, with €1 billion this year, another in 2019 and the rest in 2020, Il Sole 24 Ore reported.
* BFF Luxembourg launched an accelerated book building to sell an 8.8% stake in Banca Farmafactoring SpA, Reuters wrote.
* Former Cassa di Risparmio di Rimini SpA Chairman Giuliano Ioni, former director general Alberto Martini and his former deputy Claudio Grossi were acquitted in a trial in which they were charged with organized accounting fraud, Il Sole 24 Ore wrote.
* Saxo Bank A/S Chairman Lone Fønss Schrøder retired from the board and was replaced by Vice Chairman Henrik Normann.
* The Latvian Defense Ministry believes that the corruption allegations that resulted in the suspension of Latvian central bank governor Ilmars Rimševics could be part of a disinformation campaign attempting to damage the reputation of the country and influence the result of the upcoming October elections, Reuters reported. The newswire noted that the corruption complaint against Rimševics was made by small Latvian lender JSC Norvik Banka, owned by Russian businessman Grigory Guselnikov.
* Russian Standard Ltd. wants to launch restructuring negotiations with the holders of its defaulted bonds secured with a 49% stake in AO Russian Standard Bank, Vedomosti reported. Under proposed restructuring variants, bondholders could receive 25% of the face value of the bonds in cash or 20% of the face value plus contingent value rights to the shares of Russian Standard Bank.
* The Russian central bank revoked the banking license of Joint Stock Commercial Bank Master-Capital and placed the lender into provisional administration until the appointment of a receiver or a liquidator.
* Slovak economist Ludovít Ódor was appointed deputy governor of the Slovak central bank, Hospodarske Noviny reported.
* Borsa Istanbul AS Chairman Himmet Karadag said the Turkish stock exchange plans to launch an IPO when it releases its second-quarter results, Reuters reported.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Thailand to issue ICO, cryptocurrency rules in March; ANZ faces lawsuit
Middle East & Africa: Commercial Bank agrees to sell UAB stake; dividend rule hits Nigeria bank stocks
Latin America: Supervielle, Banco Macro Q4'17 profits jump; ex-Caixa VP acquitted
North America: JPMorgan considering M&A to grow ETF biz; 2 Oklahoma banks merging
North America Insurance: Cat losses unlikely to dampen ILS growth; Aspen closes Bermuda unit
NOW FEATURED ON S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE
HSBC vows to grow 'aggressively' in mortgages, plow resources into fintech: The expansion of HSBC's distribution network of brokers in the U.K. has been a major driver of growth in the mortgage book, rather than any lowering of standards in credit quality, the outgoing CEO Stuart Gulliver said during an earnings call.
Cryptocurrency hack could expose cyber insurance gaps: A hack designed to force computers to mine cryptocurrency serves as a reminder that there is more to cyber attacks than data breaches and malware.
Leo Magno, Arno Maierbrugger, Danielle Rossingh, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Yael Schrage, Brian McCulloch, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.
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