S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of banking news stories and more published throughout the week.
* National Bank of Greece SA finalized the sale of Albanian unit Banka NBG Albania sh.a. to American Bank of Investments, a unit of Albania-based nonbank financial institution Tranzit Finance
* Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG completed the purchase of Austrian lender Semper Constantia Privatbank AG, with plans to merge the acquired entity with its existing Austrian unit, Liechtensteinische Landesbank, by September.
* Russian banks National Bank Trust PJSC and JSC Rost Bank completed their legal merger. National Bank Trust became the legal successor of Rost, taking over its financial obligations and claims, following the merger.
* Piraeus Bank SA closed the sale of unit Piraeus Bank Romania SA to J.C. Flowers & Co. LLC after obtaining approvals from Romania's central bank. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
* Banca Transilvania SA finalized the sale procedures of its 100% indirect holding in BT Operational Leasing SA to companies controlled by Romanian group Autonom.
* Hong Kong-listed Legend Holdings Corp. received all necessary approvals for and completed the acquisition of Precision Capital SA's 89.936% stake in Banque Internationale à Luxembourg SA.
Deals in the making
* Sweden's Nordea Bank AB (publ) agreed to acquire Gjensidige Bank ASA from Gjensidige Forsikring ASA for an estimated cash consideration of 5.50 billion Norwegian kroner.
* Hrvatska poštanska banka d.d. signed an agreement with Croatia's State Agency for Deposit Insurance and Bank Resolution to acquire a 100% stake in Jadranska banka d.d. Šibenik.
* Swiss banks Gonet & Cie SA and MM Mourgue D'algue & Cie announced a potential merger, effective July 1, to create a combined entity with capital in excess of its regulatory requirements and assets under management of about CHF5 billion.
* The National Bank of Ukraine approved Swiss asset management company ResponsAbility Participations AG's acquisition of a 51% stake in PJSC Joint Stock Bank Lviv.
* VTB Bank (PJSC)'s supervisory board decided to sell wholly owned Serbian unit VTB Banka a.d. Beograd at a price not lower than the market value of the unit, determined by an appraiser. There is no information on potential buyers yet.
* Crédit Agricole SA intends to divest its Polish unit as it struggles to compete in a low interest-rate environment.
Crimes and litigation
* Geneva's Criminal Appeals Court ordered a prosecutor to re-examine a charge against former Credit Suisse Group AG banker Patrice Lescaudron in relation to mismanaging two of his Russian clients' investments.
* In a separate case, Credit Suisse settled allegations of violating an anti-bribery law in its Asia-Pacific hiring practices by agreeing to pay a total of $77 million.
* Lloyds Banking Group PLC is facing allegations of a gender gap in pension payments in a lawsuit that could incur £508 million of costs for the bank.
* The U.K.'s supreme court dismissed Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s appeal for compensation from Portugal-based Novo Banco SA relating to a loan extended to the collapsed Banco Espírito Santo SA.
* The Danish Financial Supervisory Authority is launching a fresh probe into the money laundering allegations against Danske Bank A/S's Estonian branch.
* Lloyds Banking Group will compensate more than 50 of the 70 victims of an extensive fraud at subsidiary HBOS PLC's Reading branch. The scandal took place between 2002 and 2007.
* Vnesheconombank is seeking to secure additional funding worth 1 trillion Russian ruble over the next five years from the Russian government, having already received extensive state assistance after it experienced financial problems a few years ago. The bank reportedly needs the additional funds to cover the cost of subsidizing interest rates for infrastructure and other projects.
* Barclays PLC is planning to re-establish its investment banking operations in South Africa and South Korea.
* Vontobel Holding AG could axe some 140 of the 400 jobs at Notenstein La Roche Privatbank AG after buying the bank from Raiffeisen Schweiz Genossenschaft for CHF700 million.
In other news
* The Central Bank of Ireland ordered banks to hold more capital to guard against potential losses in the event of a sudden downturn. Beginning July 5, 2019, the countercyclical capital buffer for Irish banks will increase to 1% from 0% currently.
* The Slovakian central bank increased the countercyclical capital buffer rate to 1.50% from 1.25% from Aug. 1, 2019 onwards, citing the need to strengthen the resilience of the country's banking sector at a time of continuing excessive credit growth.
* Only 20 banks have hit the end-June deadline to apply for post-Brexit licenses to operate across the EU. More than 100 banks currently use their U.K. licenses to access the wider EU market, according to a report.
* Deutsche Pfandbriefbank AG foresees its full-year 2018 consolidated pretax profit at between €175 million and €195 million, an increase from the previous estimate of between €150 million and €170 million.
Featured during the week on S&P Global Market Intelligence
European banks face long-term risk, further regulation in fossil fuel financing: European banks are under increasing pressure from investors to step up their divestment from coal, oil and gas — rather than simply offer green financing — and regulation may eventually force them to dump these assets.
UK banks on hook for yet more PPI payouts if regulator's new guidance accepted: The Financial Conduct Authority is consulting on a rule change that would mean more customers could qualify for compensation because they were charged excessive commissions on payment protection insurance.
Crédit Mutuel Arkéa rebel banks placed under supervision: Six savings banks that favor Crédit Mutuel Arkéa's separation from its mutualist parent find themselves placed under the supervision of their own regional banking group, which disagrees with Arkéa's plans.
UK regulators warn banks, other financial firms to boost IT failure resilience: In a new discussion paper, the Bank of England and the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority warn that regulators will focus on relationships with IT outsourcers to determine the level of resilience in the financial system, but they also warned banks and others that they are responsible for continuing to deliver services during an outage.