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Atlas Mara names interim chair; bank stocks fall as Gordhan summoned

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Atlas Mara names interim chair; bank stocks fall as Gordhan summoned

Diamond to becomeAtlas Mara interim chairman: Atlas Mara Ltd. Chairman Arnold Ekpe will at the Dec. 1 expiryof his three-year term to pursue other interests. Bob Diamond, the formerBarclays Plc CEO whoco-founded Atlas Mara, will take over as interim chairman.

* Meanwhile, Diamond is in talks with to acquire a strategicstake in the Ugandan lender, The EastAfrican reports.Atlas Mara and Crane Bank's owners have already agreed in principle on apartnership but have yet to agree on the lender's valuation. The owners opposeAtlas Mara's proposal to write off some 60 billion Ugandan shillings from CraneBank's balance sheet, which would reduce the lender's valuation to $250 millionfrom an estimated $300 million.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTHAFRICA

Islamic bankinggaining popularity in the UAE: Public acceptance, awareness and demand forIslamic banking in the United Arab Emirates is increasing, according to a reportby Emirates Islamic BankPJSC. The report found that 51% of banking consumers in the UAEhave at least one Islamic banking product in 2016, up 4 percentage points fromlast year, while 36% have an Islamic product from an Islamic bank, up from 34%in 2015.

* RiyadBank reported third-quarter netprofit of 729 million Saudi riyals, down from 899 million riyals in the sameperiod a year ago. The lender attributed the decrease to a 16.3% rise in totaloperating expenses. Net profit for the first nine months of 2016 amounted to3.05 billion riyals, down year over year from nearly 3.20 billion riyals.

* Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said yesterday that the oilgiant is considering listing up to 5% of its share capital in 2018, Reuters reports.Nasser said the company is still reviewing several markets where it can list,including London, Hong Kong, Japan and New York.

* Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund will reduce lendingto domestic projects as part of a planned transformation into the world'slargest sovereign wealth fund, Bloomberg News reports.Loans granted by the PIF stood at 104 billion riyals at the 2015-end, comparedto 57 billion riyals at the end of 2011.

* The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the PrivateSector acquired Jeddah-based Capitas Group International as part of itsstrategy to facilitate private sector investment, CPI Financial reports.ICD changed Capitas Group's name to Catalyst Group.

* Boubyan BankK.S.C.P. Deputy CEO Abdulla al-Najran al-Tuwaijri said yesterdaythat, after posting year-over-year net profit growth of 18% in the first halfto 18.91 million Kuwaiti dinars, the bank expects to end 2016 "at the samelevel of high teens," Reuters reports.

* IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said the fund willhold talks with U.S. officials to "remove obstacles and expeditebolstering of Iran's ties with international monetary institutions," theMehr News Agency reports.

* Theproposed changes to Tunisia's finance bill have to be submitted to thegovernment by Oct. 15 and must be adopted by Dec. 10, according to a noteby Associé Auxilium Consulting.

* The Central Bank of Egypt fixed the pound's price againstthe U.S. dollar during its regular auction yesterday, Daily News Egypt reports.Egypt's central bank took the decision as the market awaits the devaluation ofthe pound against the dollar following Governor Tarek Amer's return with theEgyptian delegation from IMF and World Bank Group meetings. The market has beenexpecting the floatation of the pound since IMF chief Christine Lagarde saidthat the Egyptian government must meet its pledges on executing reforms agreedupon with the IMF for approval of a loan.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

Equity Group Holdings goes digital: will stopopening new branches as it shifts to digital banking services, Business Daily Africa writes.CEO James Mwangi said the move to digital will not lead to any staff layoffs,as the bank will redeploy existing employees to other roles, adding: "Inany case we will require more staff."

* reportedprofit attributable to owners of the parent of 50.92 billion naira for the ninemonths ended Sept. 30, up from 47.73 billion naira in the same period in 2015.Net interest income increased on a yearly basis to 112.07 billion naira from102.12 billion naira.

* The European Investment Bankagreed to loanUnited Bank for Africa €60 million to support private sector investment acrossNigeria. UBA said it will also use the loan to expand its branch network andimprove its IT.

* and unitCfC Stanbic Bank Ltd.officially changedtheir names to Stanbic Holdings Plc and Stanbic Bank Kenya Ltd., respectively,after receiving regulatory approval.

* Luxembourg-based financialtechnology firm MyBucks acquired a 49% stake in Opportunity Bank Uganda Ltd.and has an option to further increase its shareholding, The East African writes.

* Abdourahamane Sarr, president of the Dakar-based thinktank CEFDEL, said the CFA franc is "inoperative," Financial Afrik writes.

* Benin's 2017 budget is expected to reach 2.01billion CFA francs, up from 1.42 billion CFA francs in 2016, Financial Afrik reports.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

Markets reactto Gordhan's summons: South African prosecutors ordered Finance MinisterPravin Gordhan to appear in court Nov. 2 on fraud charges, sending shares inSouth African banks plummeting the most in seven weeks and the rand weakeningas much as 3.9% against the U.S. dollar, accordingto Bloomberg News. Nearly 34 billion rand was wiped off the six-memberFTSE/JSE Africa Banks Index following news about Gordhan's summons. Gordhan isaccused of establishing a rogue spy unit when he headed the South AfricanRevenue Service about a decade ago.

* NedbankGroup Ltd. ultimate parent Old Mutual Plc has received approaches from partiesinterested in acquiring its U.K. operation Old Mutual Wealth as the grouppresses on with its planned separation into four businesses, the Financial Times reports.

* Customers of FirstRand Ltd. unit First National Bank were brieflylocked out of the bank's online banking facilities and ATMs yesterday due to aconnectivity issue, TechCentral reports.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THEWORLD

Asia-Pacific: Shenzhen-HK trading link established; India to merge 2 state-runbanks

Europe: RBSdata leak; Tryg Q3 earnings; Falcon Private Bank fined

Latin America: UBS to restructure Mexican ops; Banco Votorantim investing infintech startups

North America: Wells COO expects return of government deals; bank employeescomplain of other bad practices

North America Insurance: Expected Hurricane Matthew losses drop; insurers push back againstCanada housing rules

SherylObejera, Sarah Raslan, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to thisreport.

TheDaily Dose Middle East and Africa has an editorial deadline of 5 a.m. Londontime. Some external links may require a subscription.