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RBS adds £3.1B in provisions; Nordea's Q4'16 profit rises; Generali CFO to leave

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RBS adds £3.1B in provisions; Nordea's Q4'16 profit rises; Generali CFO to leave

* Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem wants to finish his term as president of the Eurogroup, which ends in 2018, regardless of how the country's general elections on March 15 pan out for him, Het Financieele Dagblad reports, citing an interview with BNR Nieuwsradio. Dijsselbloem's social-democrat PvdA party is expected to lose a significant number of seats in the elections, making it less likely that he will return in a new coalition cabinet. Yet while eurozone finance ministers always appoint one of their own to lead the Eurogroup, Dijsselbloem said he was in favor of turning the job into a full-time position.

* Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's lead Brexit negotiator, said the EU will make sure that Britain will not be in a better position than EU member states when it leaves the bloc, Bloomberg News reports.

UK AND IRELAND

* As expected, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc said today that its fourth-quarter 2016 results will include a further £3.1 billion provision for various investigations and litigation related to its sale of U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the financial crisis. The amount will take the bank's total of such provisions to £6.7 billion as at Dec. 31, 2016. The charge is expected to push RBS to its biggest loss since the financial crisis, according to Sky News.

* The U.K. government is expected to publish today proposed legislation to trigger Article 50 of Lisbon Treaty to leave the EU, after the Supreme Court ruled that Britain cannot start the process to leave the bloc without parliament's go-ahead, Bloomberg News reports.

* Aviva Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc purportedly violated rules related to payment protection insurance by providing customers incorrect information, according to Money Marketing.

* The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority yesterday released data highlighting insurance companies that pay out claims most infrequently. The data raised renewed concerns about the value of insurance policy add-ons, which only produced a handful of claims, BBC News notes.

* Janus Capital Group Inc. and Henderson Group Plc proposed to pay a first-quarter dividend to their respective shareholders before the completion of their merger.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* A lawsuit against Julius Bär Gruppe AG lodged by Germany's former Federal Agency for Special Tasks Related to Reunification to retrieve CHF204 million alleged to have been East German assets continues after the agency appealed against the dismissal of the case by a Zurich court in December last year, Handelszeitung reports.

* Credit Suisse Group AG plans to expand its onshore wealth management business in new markets such as Thailand and Indonesia, Citywire writes.

* Deutsche Bank AG plans to shelve its robo advisory service Anlagefinder due to a lack of interest, Handelsblatt writes, adding that since the introduction of the service at the end of 2015, it could only attract a few hundred clients.

* To offset a reduction in the number of branches, Deutsche Bank is creating regional consulting centers for private and corporate clients, Börsen-Zeitung reports.

FRANCE AND BENELUX

* Dexia SA will have to find two additional female board members by May to comply with French labor laws, De Tijd reports. The Belgian lender has a French subsidiary, Dexia Crédit Local SA, and since both boards are made up of the same people, the parent has to ensure that 40% of the board members are female, as demanded by French law as of 2017. If it fails to appoint two women by May, the company will not be able to pay its board members an annual fee of €50,000, the newspaper said.

* AXA is revisiting some social agreements ahead of the release of its strategic plan, which is intended to save €500 million by 2020, according to L'Agefi. Unions are refusing to sign the changes.

* AXA Bank Europe SA CEO Peter Devlies has denied that the bank is up for sale, as stated by some recurring rumors, according to L'Echo.

* Groupe BPCE has created a digital factory that gathers its expertise in IT, risk management, client experience and data, according to L'Agefi. Overall, 800 to 1,000 people will be involved in the development of the group's digital capabilities at six or seven digital centers in France and Berlin.

* The Dutch stock market watchdog accidentally puts its short-selling data online, Het Financieele Dagblad reports. The mishap showed AFM's internal database of net short positions in shares is at least twice and possibly four times as big as its public register, the newspaper said.

SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

* The new management team at Portugal's Caixa Geral de Depósitos SA will start work at the ailing state-run lender on Feb. 1 after the ECB approved the appointments of eight senior executives who will lead the bank's recapitalization under incoming CEO Paulo Macedo, Jornal de Negócios, Dinheiro Vivo and Público report. Among those assuming new roles at the bank are José João Guilherme, who formerly worked at Millennium BCP, Maria João Carioca, who previously served at Caixa, and Nuno Martins, currently deputy secretary of state for the treasury.

* Meanwhile, managers at Caixa Geral de Depósitos are refusing to disclose details about the bank's major creditors to a parliamentary inquiry even after an order by a Portuguese court to lift bank secrecy in the case, Jornal Económico writes. Members of the inquiry say the information should be disclosed to help ascertain political responsibility for the state-run bank's recapitalization.

* Santander Totta SGPS SA hopes to reach an agreement with the Portuguese government over some 1.8 billion worth of swap contracts after reaching a deal with Madeira's regional authorities, Reuters and Jornal de Negócios write, citing CEO António Vieira Monteiro. The government started legal action to challenge the interest-rate-hedge contracts in 2013.

* Bankinter SA is slated to announce its 2016 results today, with analysts expecting the Spanish bank increases its profit by 32.5% to €498 million, Expansión reports.

* Unicaja Banco SA now estimates the potential impact of new rules on mortgage-floor clauses in Spain at €130 million compared with its guidance of €150 million in December 2016, Expansión writes.

* Kutxabank SA said its unit CajaSur Banco S.A.U. set aside additional provisions of €60 million to cover potential client claims with regard to mortgage-floor clauses, saying it had stopped applying the illegitimate clauses sometime ago. However, the lender is facing other claims by clients with regard to the use of a similarly contested clause relating to an interest rate of reference called the IRPH index, Expansión reports.

* Portuguese former Goldman Sachs executive António Esteves has presented a 15 billion proposal to Portugal's central bank Banco de Portugal to buy nonperforming loans held by the country's commercial lenders, Público writes. He told the newspaper that the proposal, which involves the issuance of publicly guaranteed securities, has the financial backing of a large international bank and would not imply losses for the country's banking sector. A central bank source quoted by Dinheiro Vivo said the regulator had received various proposals as it seeks a solution for the estimated 30 billion of NPLs weighing on Portugal's banks.

ITALY AND GREECE

* The mooted link-up between Intesa Sanpaolo SpA and Generali could lead to a change in the lender's dividend targets, La Repubblica writes, citing analysts. The Italian government is in favor of the link-up, Il Messaggero cites government sources as saying. Separately, the newspaper notes that Generali's largest shareholder, Mediobanca SpA, wants to defend the insurer's independence.

* AXA CEO Thomas Buberl told German news agency DPA that the French insurer is not interested in a bid for Generali, Reuters reports.

* Meanwhile, Generali's board approved the exit of CFO and director general Alberto Minali, who will receive €5.7 million in compensation, all dailies including Corriere della Sera write. Reuters also covers.

* Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA issued a two-tranche bond for €7 billion guaranteed by the state, all dailies including Corriere della Sera write, noting that the bonds have been fully underwritten by the issuer and are going to be distributed on the market or used as collateral for funding operations. Reuters also covers.

* A Jan. 31 board meeting of Poste Italiane SpA will decide on the sale of its Banca del Mezzogiorno - MedioCredito Centrale SpA unit to Invitalia, Corriere della Sera reports.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Nordea Bank AB (publ) today reported fourth-quarter 2016 net profit of €1.10 billion, up from €848 million a year earlier. The bank's full-year 2016 net profit was €3.77 billion, up from the year-ago €3.66 billion.

* Saxo Bank A/S, which is planning an IPO, is cutting 50 jobs, including 31 in Denmark, Finans reports. Switzerland's finews.ch reports on job cuts at Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd.

* Online stock brokerage Nordnet AB (publ) is planning to delist from the Stockholm stock exchange after a consortium of E. Öhman J:or AB and Nordic Capital Fund VIII acquired more than 90% of the share capital, Realtid reports. The consortium wants a compulsory acquisition of the remaining shares.

EASTERN EUROPE

* The Russian central bank gave PJSC Asian-Pacific Bank more time to set aside provisions against potential losses stemming from the 2016 failure of its unit PJSC M2M Private Bank, Vedomosti and Kommersant report. The regulatory move is not in line with Russian legislation but was necessary to protect the lender.

* Tatarstan-based company Tatenergo became the owner of a 14.23% stake in PJSC Tatfondbank after its subordinated deposit held with the troubled lender was converted into shares worth 2.4 billion Russian rubles, Vedomosti writes.

* The Ukrainian units of Russian lenders such as PAO Sberbank of Russia and JSC ALFA-BANK saw inflow of deposits in November and December 2016 after problems at the now nationalized Ukrainian lender PAO KB Privatbank, RBK Daily says.

* Bank Zachodni WBK SA and Commerzbank AG's Polish subsidiary mBank SA will most likely not pay dividends for 2016, news agency PAP reports, citing the CEOs of the two lenders. Bank Zachodni's CEO Michal Gajewski also told PAP that the bank hopes to improve its core earnings in 2017 despite the lack of one-off transactions that boosted its 2016 results.

* London traders Georgy Urumov and Vladimir Gersamia were found guilty of using various scams to defraud Russian company Otkritie Securities Ltd. of more than £141 million, Reuters reports, adding that the court will sentence them on Jan. 27.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: China urged to join Trans-Pacific Partnership; AMP shutters venture capital biz

Middle East & Africa: Fitch cuts Nigeria outlook; Mashreqbank FY'16 profit dips YOY

Latin America: Banco Macro seen as favorite in Patagonia race; Brazil to simplify reserve rules

North America: Capital One's Cabela deal may fall through; court throws out ICBA vs NCUA suit

North America Insurance: GOP governors voice concerns over ACA repeal; CMS denies extension to KanCare

NOW FEATURED ON S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE

* Politics seen driving Intesa/Generali deal amid regulatory, financial questions: Intesa Sanpaolo's potential takeover of Generali may have more to do with the desires of Italian politicians than the financial interests of the Italian bank.

* Stricter capital rules uncalled for, Denmark's mortgage bankers say: Denmark's central bank wants to impose extra capital requirements on the country's mortgage banks. But bankers say the unique Danish mortgage model, which has not had a default in its 220-year history, is already safe enough.

* Santander optimistic on UK, Mexican units despite political challenges: Santander's executive chairman, Ana Botín, told analysts after the release of the lender's 2016 results that the guidance for its U.K. operations remains unchanged.

David Hutter, Arno Maierbrugger, Danielle Rossingh, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Thanasis Kakalis, Ali Kayalar, Yael Schrage, Stephanie Salti, Praxilla Trabattoni and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

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