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Top Israeli bank set for international exit; Nigeria takes to the Internet

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Top Israeli bank set for international exit; Nigeria takes to the Internet

* The African insurance market is growing at an average 5%, although Africa, with 13% of the world's population, is only responsible for 1.5% of worldwide premiums, the Cameroon Tribune reports.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* First International Bank of Israel Ltd. agreed to sell Swiss private bank unit FIBI Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. to CBH Compagnie Bancaire Helvétique SA, Globes reports. The deal, which marks First International Bank of Israel's push to operate exclusively in Israel, is expected to complete in the first quarter of next year.

* S&P Global Ratings upgraded Israel Discount Bank Ltd.'s long-term counterparty credit rating to BBB+ from BBB, with a stable outlook, citing the improvement in the lender's risk metrics. The stable outlook reflects the agency's view that the bank's business and financial profile will remain largely unchanged in the next two years.

* Bahrain Development Bank B.S.C. (c) appointed Satam Suleiman Al Qabisi its new CEO, replacing Nedhal Saleh Al-Aujan, who is retiring, effective Jan. 8, 2017, Al Ayam writes.

* Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corp. teamed up with Visa Inc. to launch a service that allows its customers to instantly print new ATM cards at its self-service kiosks using fingerprint scanning technology, Saudi Gazette writes.

* Gulf Union Cooperative Insurance Co. signed an agency agreement with Theatle Insurance Agent, under which the latter will market Gulf Union's general insurance products across Saudi Arabia in return for a part of the premiums. The one-year agreement, which will be automatically renewed upon mutual agreement, became effective Dec. 4.

* Four Tadawul-listed insurance firms, led by Bupa Arabia For Cooperative Insurance Co. and Company for Cooperative Insurance (Tawuniya), dominated 59% of the insurance market's operations during the first nine months of 2016, Argaam writes, citing an Albilad Capital report. Bupa's market share was 24.5%, followed by Tawuniya with 18.1%; MEDGULF Cooperative Insurance and Reinsurance Co. with 9.4%; and Malath Cooperative Insurance and Reinsurance Co. with 7.0%.

* Bupa Arabia appointed board members for three-year terms ending Dec. 20, 2019. Louai Hisham Nadher was reappointed chairman of the board.

* In its latest economic report, Samba Financial Group said Qatari banks now have "more spare cash on hand" after seeing an increase in excess deposits to $2.6 billion in September from $1.9 billion in August, Gulf Times reports.

* Dubai's 2017 budget foresees a 2.5 billion dirham deficit, the Dubai government's media office says.

* The Central Bank of Kuwait's new governance regulations for Islamic banks, including requiring firms to carry out external sharia audits, are set to come into full force January 2018, Reuters reports. The new rules come as the regulator seeks to boost internal and external oversight in the sector.

* The Central Bank of Iran is working on a plan to form a new regulatory body to authorize the operation of fintech firms and financial startups in the country, Financial Tribune reports. Ali Kermanshah, director for innovative technologies at the central bank, acknowledged that the regulator is facing obstacles in regulating fintech firms as banking regulations in the country are "restrictive" and require more efficiency.

* Subscriptions to Emirates Islamic Bank PJSC's 1.5 billion dirham rights issue concluded yesterday, Argaam writes.

* The European Court of Justice yesterday overruled a 2015 decision by the lower General Court and said that two agreements between the EU and Morocco aimed at closer political and trade ties do not cover the disputed Western Sahara region and remain in effect, Reuters reports.

* Morocco reported that nonperforming loans rose 10.3% in 2015, to more than 11.6 billion dinars, compared to 3.7% in 2014, Il Boursa says. The problem loans are concentrated in the industry and tourism sectors.

* Data from the central bank of Egypt shows that since the Egyptian pound's flotation in November, the volume of foreign trade operations funded by banks has reached $7.9 billion, Daily News Egypt reports.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* In Nigeria, financial transactions via the Internet totaled 101.9 billion naira in the first 10 months of 2016, compared to 91.8 billion naira in 2015 and 47.3 billion naira in 2013, Agence Ecofin reports.

* KCB Group Ltd. filed an appeal against a decision by Kenya's High Court that it falsified the statement of accounts of a firm to which it advanced a loan in 1989, Business Daily Africa writes. The bank is seeking to dismiss the case filed by the company, Benjoh Amalgamated Ltd., saying the matter had been reexamined in 18 previous cases.

* Former Family Bank Ltd. CEO Peter Munyiri and seven other former senior managers were summoned by a Nairobi court to answer charges of aiding money laundering and failure to comply with reporting obligations, The Star reports.

* National Bank of Kenya Ltd was fined 200,000 shillings as compensation after it admitted to inadvertently forwarding a customer's name to the Credit Reference Bureau, The Standard reports.

* UAP Old Mutual Group Kenya-based unit Faulu Microfinance Bank named Apollo Njoroge CEO, Business Daily reports. Njoroge previously served as acting managing director for Equity Bank Uganda.

* The Uganda Revenue Authority yesterday deactivated Kenya Commercial Bank from its portal, citing unresolved issues with the bank, and advised clients to not use the bank to make any payment to URA, KFM writes.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* Industry experts expect South African banks to see an increase in nonperforming loans next year as the country continues to face threats of credit rating downgrades and economic instability, Bloomberg News writes.

* The Bank of Central African States revised its economic growth forecast for the region's six-nation CEMAC bloc to 1% this year from a projection of 1.7% in October, citing a prolonged decline in oil prices, Reuters writes.

* The headquarters of GABAC, the action group against money laundering in central Africa, will be located in Gabon, Gaboneco reports.

* Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi was involved in setting up three public companies that borrowed some $2 billion with illegal government guarantees, leaked transcripts of a parliamentary probe show, news website Zitamar reports. The loans to the three companies are at the center of a foreign debt scandal that led the IMF and other foreign creditors to halt funding to Mozambique earlier this year pending an independent audit of government borrowing.

* African Bank Investments Ltd. reported profit after tax of 491 million South African rand for the year ended Sept. 30, down from 1.29 billion rand in the year-ago period.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: India fines foreign banks; China, Iceland extend currency swap deal

Europe: French banks sue ECB over capital rules; global banks fined over rate cartels

Latin America: Brazil unveils more economic measures; court upholds Banesco fine

North America: NYCB-Astoria deal termination leaves more questions

North America Insurance: Aetna-Humana antitrust trial nears close; Elements Property Insurance on block

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

Xana Kakoty, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

The Daily Dose Middle East and Africa has an editorial deadline of 5 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription.