* AXA and Allianz SE moved to the second round of for a with that wouldgrant exclusive access to the U.K.-based banking group's branches in Asia,Reuters reported, citing "people familiar with the matter."
* The Vietnam unit of Hanwha Life Insurance Co. Ltd. is expected to becomeprofitable within 2016, The KoreaEconomic Daily reported.In addition, the company plans to increase capital of its China joint venturein September.
* E.SUNCommercial Bank Ltd.'s branch in Rangoon, Myanmar, is expected tostart operations after it was granted a foreign bank branch license from theCentral Bank of Myanmar, making it the first Taiwanese bank to obtain a licensein Myanmar, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported.
* The People's Bank of China will scrap the traditionalmethod of altering benchmark lending and deposit rates, as it will likelytighten policy in the next few years, Bloomberg News reported,citing a survey conducted in September. Following themove, the central bank will begin taking interest rates through a corridor.
* U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said that the Chineseyuan is still a long way from becoming a global reserve currency despite beingincluded in the IMF's currency basket, Reuters reported.Lew added that China needs to enact morereforms to reach its goal to become a global currency.
* China's official manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Indexstood at 50.4 in September, same as the previous month's level, Reuters reported.Meanwhile, nonmanufacturing sector PMI rose to 53.7 in September from 53.5 inAugust. Analysts said the figures show that China's economy has kept expanding,but the basis for stable growth was still weak.
* The IMF said in a report that China must speed up itsreform and address the country's severe corporate debt problem, Reuters reported.Alfred Schipke, the IMF's senior resident representative in China, said it hassuggested that China set an economic growth target range instead of setting aspecific economic growth target.
* ChinaGuangfa Bank Co. Ltd. said that Yang Mingsheng, chairman ofChina Life Insurance Co.Ltd., was elected as chairman of the bank, Caixin reported.Meanwhile, Liu Jiade and Yin Yi, vice presidents of China Life, were appointedas president and vice president of the bank, respectively.
* Eighteen Chinese life insurers had more than 10 billionyuan of premiums for universal life insurance in the eight months ended August,some of which surpassed 100 billion yuan, the Securities Daily reported.Universal life insurance premiums in 20 life insurers accounted for more thanhalf of each company's total premium during the period.
* Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission startedaccepting applications from local banks to provide mobile services throughApple Pay, DigiTimes reported.The commission would only allow credit card payments initially, while othermethods, such as debit cards, might be allowed later.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* A rice production company set up by , thefirst agricultural venture of a major commercial bank in Japan, will record itsfirst-year harvest in Ogata, Akita Prefecture, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported.
* Dai-ichi LifeInsurance Co. Ltd. has completed its transition to a holdingcompany system, with domestic and overseas operations officially put underDai-ichi Life Holdings Inc., The MainichiShimbun reported.
* HachijuniBank Ltd. signed partnership agreements with Mitsubishi Group'sfour financial institutions and Mitsubishi Estate Co. Ltd. to work together onlocal economy revitalization programs, Tokyo's The Nikkei reported.
* Mizuho BankLtd. will offer a service that allows customers to buy U.S. stockswith cash in their bank accounts without going through a brokerage account, The Nikkei reported.The service is a joint venture with One Tap BUY Co. Ltd., a smartphone-basedonline securities company.
* Sumitomo Mitsui Banking will start selling securitizedaircraft loans to institutional investors, TheNikkei reported.Yield-hungry regional banks are among the target investors.
* A new fund transfer system under development by andSBI Sumishin Net BankLtd. has attracted 38 bank participants so far, The Nikkei reported.
* SBI HoldingsInc. will introduce the first homegrown dollar-denominatedinvestment trust in Japan, The Nikkeireported.
* Japan's Financial Services Agency approved theestablishment of Nishi-Nippon Financial Holdings, a joint venture by andBank of Nagasaki Ltd.,The Nikkei reported.
* The launch of the first Internet bank in South Korea bythe end of 2016 continues to face uncertainty from a parliamentary gridlockover the amendment of the country's Banking Act, Yonhap News Agency reported.
* International green bond sales by South Korean issuershave stalled since the second quarter, while the global market for green bondscontinues to grow, Edaily reported.
* KASIKORN Securities said that factors that should bemonitored for the Thai stock market movement during the week of Oct. 3 includethe European Union's response to Deutsche Bank's alleged misrepresentation ofMonte dei Paschi's finances, as well as key economic figures of the U.S. andEurope, Thailand's Daily News reported.
* Biometric technology may be used in providing financialservices in Thailand soon, which may be used to strengthen processes forconfirming a user's identity, Thailand's PostToday reported,citing a source from the Bank of Thailand.
* Roong Mallikamas, the Bank of Thailand's senior director for the macroeconomicand monetary policy department, said the Thai economy in August was better thanin July, due to public sector investment and an improved export sector, thecountry's Krungthep Turakij reported. However,she said the economy in the third quarter might not fare as well as the secondquarter.
* Thai Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong said thecountry's economy would grow by more than 4% in 2016, higher than the currentprojection of around 3%, the country's ThaiRath reported. Theminister is encouraging the private sector to speed up their domesticinvestment activities.
* Indonesia's Shariah stock index recorded a growth of 20%as of Sept. 20 from the start of 2016, making it the highest among global Shariahstock indexes, Bisnis Indonesia reported.The Indonesian Shariah stock index has grown by 43% in the past five years.
* PT Sun Life Financial Indonesia and will expandbancassurance cooperation with the introduction of a new product called X-TraJaga, Kompas reported.
* The Philippine government's community mortgage program isunable to meet its intended goals due to high equity requirements, The Philippine Star reported,citing a policy note by the Philippine Institute of Development Studies. Thestate-run program is aimed at providing mortgages to people who are unable tosecure a loan from banks.
* The Securities and Exchange Board of India exempted thegovernment from making an open offer to public shareholders in as the latterincreases its current holdings in the bank by 5.98% through a preferentialshare allotment, Press Trust of India reported.As the government infuses capital into the bank, its holding in the lender willrise to 79.56%.
* KotakMahindra Bank Ltd. agreed to acquire BSS Microfinance for a cashconsideration of 1.39 billion Indian rupees, Business Standard reported.The lender intends to reach out to lower end clientele through the acquisition.
* The Indian government gave a one-year extension toArundhati Bhattacharya, chairperson of State Bank of India, to ensure a smooth transition asthe bank moves towards the consolidation of its associate banks, Business Standard reported,citing a senior bank executive.
AUSTRALIA AND NEWZEALAND
* CommonwealthBank of Australia has thus far offered A$11 million to its clientsunder the open advice review program for victims of poor financial advice, The Australian reported.Dealings with about 4,500 customers have been reviewed.
* Commonwealth Bank cut term deposit rates on some of itsproducts, lowering the one-year rate to 2.4% and two-year deposit rate to2.45%, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.The bank had earlier passed on half of the rate cut from the central bank.
Sally Wang, JonathanCheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.
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