* ECB Executive Board member Benoît Cœuré said governments and the financial sector need to prepare for higher interest rates, Reuters reports. Cœuré also said the central bank sees no evidence that its stimulus policy poses a threat to financial markets and stability.
* Executive Board member Peter Praet said in a March 27 interview published yesterday that the ECB's monetary policy stance remains appropriate and that the volume reduction in its monthly asset purchases, which will be scaled down to €60 billion from €80 billion beginning this month, "does not signal the start of a gradual reduction of purchases."
UK AND IRELAND
* The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority yesterday proposed new rules that would require credit card firms to take a series of steps to help customers in persistent debt repay their balances more quickly. The consultation regarding the new measures will close July 3.
* As more clients shift to online transactions, Lloyds Banking Group Plc intends to shrink hundreds of branches into "micro branches," which will be staffed by only a couple of employees carrying tablets to help customers make basic transactions, BBC News reports.
* Standard Chartered Plc intends to raise the minimum threshold of investable private banking client assets to $5 million from $2 million this year and focus on attracting clients with at least $30 million in investable assets, insiders tell the Financial Times. The focus shift could lead to layoffs of bankers who target less wealthy clients.
* Legal & General Group Plc's Legal & General Investment Management warned that it will vote against board chairmen at companies that fail to take action against climate change, the FT reports.
* Old Mutual Plc named Peter Moyo CEO of unit Old Mutual Emerging Markets Ltd., effective June 1.
* Helios Underwriting Plc acquired Lloyd's of London limited liability member Charmac Underwriting Ltd. for £2.2 million in cash.
* The Central Bank of Ireland named Bernard Sheridan acting deputy governor in charge of financial regulation, effective from April 8, following Cyril Roux's resignation.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* Deutsche Bank AG's group treasurer, Alexander von zur Mühlen, will move to the investment banking division as part of a management reshuffle, insiders tell The Wall Street Journal. Dixit Joshi will replace von zur Mühlen as group treasurer.
* Deutsche Bank acquired a 12.5% stake in German financial technology firm TrustBills, Reuters reports. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
* Credit Suisse Group AG appointed former Deutsche Bank executives Neil Hosie as Asia-Pacific head of equities and Patrick Kelly as Asia-Pacific head of equity client trading and execution.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* Euronext NV signed an agreement with ICE Clear Netherlands, a unit of U.S.-based Intercontinental Exchange Inc., for the provision of clearing services for the former's financial derivatives and commodities markets. Euronext will invest €10 million in the Dutch firm, and the formal clearing services agreement is expected to complete in the second quarter. The deal comes ahead of the 2018-end expiration of the current clearing services agreement with London Stock Exchange Group Plc's LCH.Clearnet SA.
* Atradius NV Management Board Chairman and CEO Isidoro Unda said the company intends to open in "one or two" countries a year, with Romania and Bulgaria as its targets for 2017, Les Echos reports.
* ING Groep NV unit ING België NV will make 409 employees redundant under a restructuring plan that will also see another 1,500 employees receiving early retirement packages, L'Echo writes.
* A €700 million tax fraud case involving a company called France Offshore and Latvia-based JSC Rietumu Banka shows the difficulty in regulating so-called confetti banks in Europe, Les Echos writes. Latvian authorities have reportedly taken no action on a report prepared by French investigators regarding the issue.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* Banco Popular Español SA said CEO Pedro Larena would be stepping down for personal reasons but would continue in his role until a successor is found. The bank also said it would have to make adjustments to its past accounts after an internal audit. The adjustments, which relate to the accounting of provisions totaling €633 million for problem loans and financing given to clients who took part in the bank's €2.5 billion capital increase in 2016, will be included in the bank's accounts for the first half of 2017.
* BlackRock Inc. and other fund managers are seeking an injunction to block the recently announced sale of a controlling stake in Novo Banco SA to U.S. private equity firm Lone Star, according to Reuters. The fund managers claim that the rules governing the sale process are discriminatory and breach Portuguese and EU law.
* Banco BPI SA will formally appoint Pablo Forero as CEO in place of Fernando Ulrich at a shareholder meeting April 26, Jornal de Negócios reports. Ulrich, who has served as CEO for 13 years, will become chairman.
* A bid to acquire Banco Efisa SA has collapsed as Pivot SGPS, the bidding company, failed to meet a deadline to acquire the Portuguese bank from the state, Jornal de Negócios writes. Parparticipadas, which was set up to manage the assets of nationalized Banco Português de Negócios, would launch a new process to sell Banco Efisa, according to Jornal Económico.
ITALY AND GREECE
* Veneto Banca SpA reported an attributable net loss of €1.50 billion for full year 2016, compared to a year-ago net loss of €881.9 million. The bank plans to issue up to €1.4 billion in new state-guaranteed debt, Reuters reports. The ECB meanwhile gave its first approval for the rescue plan for Veneto Banca and Banca Popolare di Vicenza SpA, MF reports. The central bank estimates that the two banks will need about €6.4 billion to strengthen their balance sheets, insiders tell Bloomberg News.
* The Italian Treasury is mulling delisting shares of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, Il Messaggero writes.
* Quaestio, which manages Italian bank rescue fund Atlante, will name Massimo Tosato co-CEO from April 21 to work with current CEO Paolo Petrignani, Il Sole 24 Ore writes.
* Intesa Sanpaolo SpA reached a deal with Aon Plc to strengthen its presence in nonlife insurance, Il Sole 24 Ore writes.
* Alpha Bank AE intends to cancel the listing of its global depository receipts on the London Stock Exchange, effective May 4, because of their low trading volume compared with the company's total market capitalization.
* There is no guarantee that Nordea Bank AB (publ) will maintain its corporate headquarters in Sweden even if the Swedish government reverses plans to impose new taxes on banks in the country, Dagens Industri writes, citing the bank's investor relations head, Rodney Alfvén. Meanwhile, Chairman Björn Wahlroos said there is "more than a 33% chance" that Nordea's headquarters would relocate to Helsinki, Finland, if the group does decided to move out of Sweden, according to Kauppalehti.
* Nordea plans to establish a new unit called the Investment Solutions & Advisory Center as part of a reorganization of its savings and pension investments activities, Børsen reports. The new division is expected to commence operations from May 1.
* Stockholm-based digital payments provider Klarna AB has applied for a bank license with the Swedish FSA, Di Digital reports.
* The Finnish FSA believes Danske Bank A/S could follow Nordea's lead and merge its subsidiaries in Finland into the Danish parent, Ilta Sanomat writes.
* Alm. Brand A/S named Rasmus Nielsen CFO to replace Anne Barfod, who will step down. Nielsen will formally take up the role July 1.
* The merger of Norwegian lenders Sparebanken Hedmark and Bank 1 Oslo Akershus AS is now complete. Sparebanken Hedmark was listed as the acquiring bank, with CEO Richard Heiberg holding the same role in the enlarged entity.
* The Central Bank of Russia wants banks with capital below 1 billion Russian rubles to limit lending to large companies to 10% of their capital, Vedomosti reports. The planned changes are part of a reform under which Russia wants to introduce two types of banking licenses as of 2018, namely a basic license for smaller lenders and a universal license for banks with capital exceeding 1 billion rubles.
* JSC Financial Corp. URALSIB completed the sale of London-based unit Uralsib Securities to ITI Group, Vedomosti reports. Uralsib could become a minority shareholder in ITI Group as part of the transaction, according to source close to the deal.
* The IMF released a new $1 billion aid tranche for Ukraine and urged the country's government to raise the pension age and step up the fight against corruption, Reuters writes.
* Bank Zachodni WBK SA, Bank BGZ BNP Paribas SA and Bank Millennium SA are facing inquiry by Polish competition watchdog UOKiK over unclear rules on setting foreign exchange rates in credit deals, PAP reports.
* PKO Bank Polski SA officially opened its Czech office, targeting Polish corporate clients operating in the Czech Republic and Czech companies present in the Polish market. Separately, CEO Zbigniew Jagiello tells Rzeczpospolita that the times of generous dividends are over and that all threats to the Polish banking sector must be resolved in 2017.
* DenizBank AS named Ruslan Abil executive vice president with responsibility for the financial affairs group and Umut Özdogan executive vice president responsible for the cash management, public finance and organization group, Finans Gündem writes.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Australians with Credit Suisse accounts at risk; Visa eyes Philippine expansion
Middle East & Africa: South Africa downgraded; European, African banks eye Moza Banco
Latin America: Political unrest in Venezuela, Paraguay; Banco del Bajío revives IPO plan
North America: Lone Star wins Novo Banco bid; Apollo reportedly vying with HNA for HSH Nordbank
North America Insurance: Trump renews healthcare push; reinsurance rate cuts slow during renewals
NOW FEATURED ON S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE
Italian banking cleanup held back by low funding, solvency questions: Asset quality is slowly improving at many Italian banks, but several smaller ones still face difficulties as uncertainty hovers around their solvency — a necessary condition to their receiving state aid.
Mixed messages from Denmark on potential Nordea HQ move: Swedish bank Nordea is contemplating moving its headquarters to another country, possibly Denmark, in protest at a tax hike in its home country. But Denmark has sent mixed signals about its willingness to host one of the world's largest banks.
Leo Magno, Meike Wijers, Gerard O'Dwyer, Beata Fojcik, Mike Hatzidakis, Ali Kayalar, Yael Schrage, Brian McCulloch, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.
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