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Tougher rules for smaller Chinese lenders; India's DHFL to resume operations

GREATER CHINA

* Smaller Chinese lenders in rural areas are no longer allowed to make loans or conduct bill financing outside their home bases. The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission said the new policy should improve liquidity for local farmers and small businesses, as some of the banks in villages and townships have "deviated from their primary purpose" of financing growth of the rural communities.

* The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission now allows foreign-invested banks to choose the direction of their business based on a clear functional positioning, China Daily reported. Previously, these lenders were only allowed to operate wholesale banking in China.

* The People's Bank of China conducted 6 billion yuan worth of central bank bills swap to improve the liquidity of perpetual bonds issued by commercial banks. The swap are open to primary dealers for bidding at a fixed rate at 0.1% and will last for three months.

* Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd. named Xie Yong Lin president, taking over from Ren Huichuan.

* The Jiangxi branch of the Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. was fined 1.2 million yuan by the CBIRC for improper fees, incomplete records and employing under-qualified staff, Sina reported.

* The former chairman of HENGFENG BANK CO. Ltd., Jiang Xiyun, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve, Reuters reported, citing a local court. Jiang was convicted of corruption, receiving bribes, illegally issuing financial notes and illegally destroying accounting books.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* Japan's Financial Services Agency approved the proposed merger between Tokushima Bank Ltd. and Taisho Bank Ltd., effective Jan. 1, 2020. The merged entity will be named Tokushima Taisho Bank Ltd.

* Nippon Life Insurance Co. and affiliate Taiju Life Insurance Co. Ltd. will move their alternative and fixed-income assets to Nissay Asset Management Corp.'s balance sheet, in order to concentrate on the financial assets of the group asset management unit, Tokyo's The Nikkei reported.

* NH Investment & Securities Co. Ltd. launched NH Hedge Asset Management, a new unit specializing in hedge fund management, The Chosun Ilbo reported.

* Daegu Bank Ltd. received preliminary approval from the State Bank of Vietnam to open a branch in Ho Chi Minh City by the first quarter of 2020, Yonhap News Agency reported.

ASEAN

* Indonesia's Financial Services Authority issued new rules governing fraud strategies for commercial banks, requiring the lenders to develop and implement effective anti-fraud strategies that meet the guidelines set by the regulator, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

* CIMB Thai Bank PCL expects its income before tax to stand at around 1.8 billion baht for 2019, up 600% from the previous year, Manager Daily reported. The bank also expects its income before tax in 2020 to grow by 20%.

* Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha obtained an e-money issuer license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to operate its MarCoPay business, BusinessWorld reported. The Japanese firm is looking to offer financial technology services for seafarers from the Philippines.

* Vietnam Prosperity JSCB has settled 3 trillion dong worth of bonds that were sold to Vietnam Asset Management, Viet Nam News reported. The lender now has to make a 1.4 trillion dong provision for the bonds, which could impact its annual earnings.

SOUTH ASIA

* The Securities and Exchange Board of India fined CARE Ratings and ICRA, the Indian affiliate of Moody's, 2.5 million rupees each for failing to exercise due diligence while assigning credit ratings to the nonconvertible debentures of Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd.

* The Reserve Bank of India told banks that it plans to introduce rules limiting the stakes of banks in insurers at 30% and those of nonbank financial companies at 50%, Mint reported, quoting sources aware of the matter. The caps are expected to take effect in fiscal 2021. The move is meant to shield banks from the capital risks of their noncore business, a source added.

* The Indian government has approved the injection of 21.53 billion rupees into state-owned lender Allahabad Bank, as part of the government's contribution in the preferential allotment of equity shares of the bank for fiscal year 2019-20.

* Administrators of troubled lender Dewan Housing Finance Corp. Ltd. have decided to resume normal business operations on a smaller scale over the coming weeks by lending around 5 billion rupees monthly, The Economic Times reported, citing two sources aware of the matter.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Australia-based Retail Employees Superannuation Trust is facing a lawsuit claiming that the fund's trustee breached fiduciary duties by not exercising due diligence to protect the claimant's investment from the financial risks of climate change, The Australian Financial Review reported.

* The Insurance Council of Australia said 2,306 insurance claims that had come in were connected to the bushfires in New South Wales, the Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island, worth A$182.6 million, The Australian Financial Review reported. Insurance claims are expected to rise rapidly in the next few days, said Campbell Fuller, the organization's head of communications.

* The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission will be required to share information such as audit documents and mandatory filings with each other in response to requests by either parties under a draft law in the country, The Australian reported.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Global Insurance: Faxai, Hagibis claims estimates; Admiral cancels JV; Ping An appoints president

North America: JPMorgan's Bear Stearns deal pays off; Santander to challenge fintechs in 2020

Aries Poon, R Sio, Emily Lai, Jonathan Cheah, James Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.

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