* U.S.-based payments giant Visa Inc. will open a new headquarters in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The new hub, which is expected to finish construction in June 2021, will house more than 500 employees working for Visa's Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa operations, Arabian Business noted.
* Separately, Visa named Corine Mbiaketcha its general manager for East Africa, effective Nov. 5, according to The Kenyan Wall Street. Mbiaketcha, who formerly served as managing director for technology at Oracle, will oversee the payment company's operations in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Mauritius and Ethiopia.
GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
* Kuwait Finance House KSCP reported third-quarter net profit attributable to owners of the parent of 82.8 million dinars, up from the year-ago 73.9 million dinars. For the nine months to Sept. 30, the bank's attributable net profit totaled 190.5 million dinars, a year-over-year increase from 169.1 million dinars.
* Moody's affirmed the A3 insurance financial strength ratings of Gulf Insurance Group KSCP and its main insurance operating company in Kuwait, Gulf Insurance and Reinsurance Co. KSC, with stable outlooks.
* Boubyan Bank KSCP received initial approval from the Kuwaiti central bank to issue Islamic bonds, or sukuk, of $1 billion at most and for its first issuance of such bonds worth at most $500 million.
* Gulf Bank KSCP named Dari al-Bader general manager for corporate affairs.
* Riyad Bank CEO Tariq al-Sadhan said the lender's proposed combination with Saudi peer National Commercial Bank is still under review and will likely take some time due to the size of both banks, Argaam reported, citing an interview with Al-Arabiya TV.
REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* Banks in Lebanon will remain closed today even after the government reached an agreement on a series of reforms yesterday in a bid to quell nationwide protests, Reuters reported, citing the Lebanese banking association.
* Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned the mandate to build a coalition government to President Reuven Rivlin, who plans to appoint Netanyahu's rival, Benny Gantz, for the job instead, local media reported. Ahead of a deadline to present a coalition, Netanyahu said he cannot form a new government, adding that Gantz has declined to join negotiations.
* The board of Wethaq Takaful Insurance-Egypt endorsed a proposal to increase the company's paid-up capital to 190 million pounds from 150 million pounds, unnamed sources told Amwal Al Ghad.
* Morocco's central bank has established two new alliances in Africa after signing a memorandum of understanding with the Central Bank of Egypt on banking supervision, information exchange and general cooperation and a similar agreement with the Bank of Mauritius, according to L'Economiste.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Nigeria-based FBN Holdings PLC posted group profit attributable to owners of the parent of 19.36 billion naira in the third quarter, an increase from the year-ago 11.12 billion naira. The bank's attributable profit for the first nine months also rose on a yearly basis, to 49.59 billion naira from 43.63 billion naira.
* United Bank for Africa PLC saw its third-quarter group profit attributable to owners of the parent increase to 24.02 billion Nigerian naira from 17.16 billion naira a year ago.
* The Nigerian central bank has instructed lenders to ensure they hold enough funds before bidding for short-term government bonds to avoid facing sanctions, which could include canceling bids, Bloomberg News wrote.
* Nigeria-based Fidelity Bank PLC ordered its directors, managers and other high-ranking staff to temporarily stop trading of the lender's shares that they own until the release of its third-quarter earnings report to prevent insider trading, Business Post noted. The bank's board plans to hold a meeting Oct. 24 for the approval of its financial results.
* The Nigerian government has mandated MTN Nigeria Communications PLC to suspended a plan to charge new fees on clients that access banking services using its shortcodes, Premium Times reported.
* Ghana wants to go cashless, with plans to transact payments for all government services electronically by next year, the Financial Times reported, citing Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia. He added that Ghana has already overtaken Kenya in terms of mobile payments, having enforced the full interoperability of mobile wallets across telecoms companies and banks.
* Kenya's acting treasury secretary, Ukur Yatani, said the cap on interest rates that banks can charge on loans will be scrapped as lawmakers would be unable to get enough votes in parliament to oppose President Uhuru Kenyatta's decision to remove the limits, Bloomberg reported. Kenyatta last week scrapped the Financial Bill 2019, which seeks to retain the caps.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and Standard Bank Group Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding under which the South African lender will transfer its 20% stake in Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (Argentina) SA to its parent, ICBC.
* The Paris Commercial Court has ordered Gabon-based financial techology startup E-Doley Finance to compensate BGFIBank Gabon SA, effectively granting all of the latter's claims in its case against the firm, according to Agence Ecofin. E-Doley Finance took the bank to court last year, accusing it of stealing some of its mobile payments technology.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Temasek offering to raise Keppel stake to 51%; Japan to stress test banks
Europe: Wirecard audit; Citi's confidence in London; Munich Re set to beat €2.5B target
Latin America: Election polls show outright win for Argentina's Fernandez; turmoil in Chile
North America: NY banks in $106.8M deal; Thomson Reuters responds to media report on CEO search
Global Insurance: Third Point Re review; Allianz UK reinsurance; Rothesay Life enters £3.8B buy-in
Deza Mones, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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