* IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the global financial industry should immediately address inequality levels that could trigger a new financial crisis, Reuters reported. Her comments come following a report by the fund that said the increasing complexity of the financial sector often ends up benefitting mainly the wealthy.
* The Climate Bonds Initiative, a nonprofit organization promoting the sustainable bond market, said 2019 green bond and loan issuance stood at $254.9 billion, up from $171.1 billion in 2018 and above its forecast of $230 billion to $250 billion. Of the 2019 total, $6.8 billion, or 2.6%, are green loans.
* Mauritius-based Loita Capital Partners International Ltd and Liberian Bank for Development & Investment opened a branch in the Liberian capital of Monrovia that would serve as an investment banking subsidiary, the Daily Observer reported.
GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
* The board of directors of Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insurance Co.recommended a 50% capital reduction, to 150 million Saudi Arabian riyals from 300 million riyals to offset accumulated losses. The company said the capital reduction has no significant impact on its liabilities or operations.
* The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates has granted local banks a further six months, until July, to apply the final phase of Basel III regulations initially set to start in January, Al-Ittihad reported.
* Capital Intelligence Ratings affirmed the United Arab Emirates' AA-/ A1+ long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency ratings, with a stable outlook.
* Fajr Capital Ltd. sold a significant minority stake in Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam Bhd. to Brunei Investment Agency, the latest in a string of divestments carried out by the Dubai-base private equity firm.
* Qatar National Bank (QPSC) is now focusing its expansion efforts on Southeast Asia with plans for a potential acquisition, CEO Abdulla al-Khalifa told Bloomberg TV. However, al-Khalifa noted that there are no deals under review as of yet.
* National Bank of Bahrain BSC has successfully closed its offer to acquire up to 100% of the paid-up ordinary shares of Bahrain Islamic Bank BSC, which will result in the lender owning a 78.8% controlling stake in Bahrain Islamic Bank, up from its 29.06 % pre-transaction stake, on completion of the settlement.
* Kuwait's Capital Markets Authority has renewed the collective investment scheme license of Cap Corp Local Fund for a period of three years.
* The board of Oman-based Financial Services Company SAOG approved a proposal to cut the company's capital to 2 million rials from 6.5 million rials to write off its accumulated losses.
REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* Israel's Capital Market, Insurance and Savings Authority granted DavidShield-PassportCard group a license to operate as an insurance company, Globes wrote. DavidShield-PassportCard is controlled by businessman Alon Ketzef, who is also its founder, and U.S.-based White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd.
* Israeli politician Nir Barkat, the former mayor of Jerusalem, aims to replace Moshe Kahlon as the country's finance minister, according to Globes. Kahlon announced last week that he would retire from politics.
* Israel-based Sayata Labs Ltd. appointed King Flynn head of insurance. Flynn was U.S. head of broker relations at Beazley Group Ltd
* Banking customers in Lebanon are becoming more agitated amid a prolonged imposition of limits on cash withdrawal in lieu of a deepening financial and economic crisis, Reuters reported. Some customers have reportedly tried to strongarm bank employees with 101 reported acts of violence in bank branches between November 2019 and Jan. 13.
* The board of Egypt-based Fawry for Banking Technology and Electronic Payments SAE cleared a plan to subscribe to the capital hike of unit Fawry for Microfinance for 14 million pounds to 50 million pounds, according to Arab Finance.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Nigeria's Access Bank PLC will complete its acquisition of a roughly 100% stake in Kenya-based Transnational Bank PLC on Feb. 1, the Kenyan central bank said. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. A spokesman for Access Bank also told Reuters that the bank aims to expand to Cameroon, Mozambique and Sierra Leone this year.
* Meanwhile, Access Bank CEO Herbert Wigwe said the Nigerian lender will pump an unspecified amount into its newly acquired unit Transnational Bank, which recorded net losses of 23.3 million shillings in the first nine months of 2019, Business Daily Africa reported.
* Nigeria plans to hold talks with concessionary lenders over an external borrowing allowance in its 2020 budget amounting to roughly 850 billion naira, Reuters reported, citing Patience Oniha, director general of the country's debt management office.
* Deep disagreement may exist between Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire on the matter of replacing western Africa's CFA franc with the new eco currency, Jeune Afrique reported.
* Kenya is in advanced discussions with the World Bank for a loan of between 50 billion shillings to 100 billion shillings, Reuters reported, citing Julius Muia, the principal secretary in East African nation's finance ministry. At maximum, the loan amount would be equivalent to more than half of Kenya's required external funding for the current fiscal year.
* Ghana's George Agyekum Nana Donkor was named president of the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development, taking over from Nigeria's Bashir Mamman Ifo, Financial Afrik reported.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* Angola's central bank has told the country's 13 largest banks to reduce their exposure to companies linked to their own shareholders, Expansão reported. It said the monetary authority had carried out an analysis of the credit portfolios of the country's 26 banks, which revealed that the top 13 banks have a "very significant exposure" to so-called related parties. The central bank did not say which banks were subject to the recommendations to reduce their exposure.
* Portugal's EuroBic, formerly known as Banco BIC Português SA, in which Angolan billionaire Isabel Dos Santos has a stake, has lost a €3.7 million lawsuit against tax authorities in the European country, dealing another blow to the businesswoman's operations, Expresso wrote. The newspaper noted that EuroBic was already being scrutinized by Portugal's central bank following corruption charges against Dos Santos in Angola.
* Mozambique's central bank launched the second edition of its regulatory sandbox initiative, inviting developers, financial technology startups and researchers to submit proposals for financial innovation projects, Jornal Noticias reported. The central bank highlighted the role that technology can play in increasing access to financial services.
* Madagascar's central bank said it will begin purchasing gold on behalf of the state and operating a gold reserve, Midi Madagasikara reported.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Global shadow bank assets fall since 2008; HSBC to cut jobs in Europe, Asia
Erin Tanchico, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Helen Popper contributed to this report.
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