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The Thursday Express: North American financials

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The Thursday Express: North American financials

* Markel Corp. is combining its wholesale and global insurance segments to create a new insurance division called Markel Assurance. It will be led by Bryan Sanders.

* Heavin Insurance Agency and Arvak Insurance Group, employee benefits brokers based in Texas, have merged and become affiliated with Leavitt Group.

* In New Jersey, BCB Bancorp is buying IA Bancorp and unit Indus American Bank for $20 million.

* Also, JPMorgan won the bid to purchase up to $396.5 million of new debt from the Chicago Public Schools, Reuters reports.

* Mortgage servicer Fay Servicing will need to pay about $1.2 million after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that it failed to inform mortgage borrowers about foreclosure relief.

* A Blackstone Group fund, which will target commercial real estate properties in Europe using an opportunistic acquisitions approach, closed at €7.8 billion, a source told Reuters. The fund will have roughly €24 billion of buying power.

* Asset managers agree that a June rate hike from the Federal Reserve is likely. But a flattening yield curve, mixed economic indicators and turmoil in Washington, D.C., could complicate the timing of rate increases and movement on the $4.5 trillion in assets on the central bank's balance sheet.

* New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and a group of 20 other state attorneys general wrote a letter opposing the Financial CHOICE Act, noting that the act would overhaul the CFPB and "eviscerate" the agency's ability to provide financial protection to consumers.

* The Securities and Exchange Commission could tap Dalia Blass to succeed David Grim, who has yet to announce plans to resign as the head of the SEC's investment management division, say sources for The Wall Street Journal.

* In his testimony prepared for delivery to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, James Comey said President Donald Trump asked for the then-FBI director's loyalty and encouraged him to drop an investigation into Michael Flynn, the president's former national security adviser.

* Democrats continued to press for the forgiveness of the $24.6 billion debt amassed by the National Flood Insurance Program as Congress weighs reforms to the program.

* And the Terrorism and Illicit Finance Subcommittee of the Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing today entitled, "Virtual Currency: Financial Innovation and National Security Implications."

The Daily Dose: Express Edition is updated as of 6:30 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription.