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Dai-ichi Life unit to buy Suncorp life business; New Zealand holds cash rate

GREATER CHINA

* China's Ministry of Finance and 20 financial institutions in the country have co-established the National Financing Guarantee Fund Ltd. in Beijing with a registered capital of 66.1 billion yuan, Caixin reported. The company will support small- and micro-sized enterprises, agriculture-related enterprises and innovative enterprises by providing financing guarantee businesses to them.

* China Zheshang Bank Co. Ltd. said the banking and insurance regulator approved Xu Renyan to become the lender's president, China's National Business Daily reported.

* The Xi'an branch of the People's Bank of China imposed a combined penalty of 3.05 million yuan on the Xi'an branches of two banks, a trust company and a life insurer for breaking the country's anti-money laundering law, Caijing reported.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings Inc.'s net income attributable to owners for the fiscal first quarter fell to ¥83.86 billion from ¥91.67 billion in the year-ago quarter. EPS dropped to ¥141.69 from ¥154.80.

* Higashi-Nippon Bank Ltd. Chairman Michitoo Ishii will step down following alleged irregular loans and other business problems at the bank, The Nikkei reported. The Financial Services Agency had previously ordered the bank to improve its business practices.

* South Korea's AssetPlus Investment Management Co. plans to buy back up to 129,533 common shares worth about 2.5 billion won between Aug. 22 and Sept. 10, The Financial News reported.

* Seoul-headquartered ING Life Insurance Korea Ltd. plans to change its name to OrangeLife, effective Sept. 3, The Korea Economic Daily reported.

ASEAN

* The Bank of Thailand's Monetary Policy Committee voted 6-1 to keep the policy interest rate unchanged at 1.50%. The outlook for headline inflation of 2.5% was largely unchanged from the previous assessment with the annual average expected to be within target.

* PT Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk will issue 3 trillion rupiah worth of bonds with a five-year tenor, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

* The State Bank of Vietnam will launch surprise inspections on credit firms which have a large amount of their total outstanding loans on potentially risky sectors, Viet Nam News reported. The central bank's inspection would focus on sectors with high potential risks such as real estate, securities and consumption, among others, to quickly detect problems.

SOUTH ASIA

* IIFL Holdings Ltd. unit IIFL Wealth Management Ltd. is seeking to acquire an 80% stake in Chennai, India-based private wealth manager Wealth Advisors (India) Pvt. Ltd., The Economic Times reported, citing a source close to the deal.

* India Post Payments Bank will collaborate with banks and other financial firms to provide loans, mutual funds, and insurance policies to its customers, Press Trust of India reported. The lender has already partnered with Bajaj Allianz for insurance and will be selling some of Punjab National Bank's products.

* India's Axis Bank Ltd. is expected to expand its branch network by opening between 350 to 400 local branches in 2018, Press Trust of India reported, citing a top bank official. The bank currently has about 3,800 branches.

* India-based Punjab & Sind Bank reported a net loss of 3.98 billion rupees for the fiscal first quarter ended June 30, compared to a net profit of 253.7 million rupees in the prior-year quarter.

* India's City Union Bank Ltd. said net profit for the fiscal first quarter increased 15% to 1.62 billion rupees from 1.40 billion rupees in the prior-year period.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Suncorp Group Ltd. is selling its Australian life insurance business to TAL Dai-ichi Life Australia Pty. Ltd. for about A$725 million, as it posted full-year net profit after tax for the year ended June 30 of A$1.06 billion, or 80.54 Australian cents per share, down from A$1.08 billion, or 82.55 cents per share, in the prior-year period.

* The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has joined 11 other watchdogs from around the world in proposing a new Global Financial Innovation Network to provide a more efficient way for innovative firms to interact with regulators in different countries, and to help in their expansion plans.

* National Australia Bank Ltd. could face criminal charges amid revelations that the lender charged fees of more than A$3 million to dead people, The Australian reported. An investigation by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission showed that the bank charged customers fees for services they did not receive.

* The Reserve Bank of New Zealand kept its official cash rate unchanged at 1.75% and expects to keep them on hold through 2019 and into 2020, longer than it projected in May.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Middle East & Africa: Nedbank H1 headline earnings up YOY; Nigerian central banker hints at rate hike

Europe: UniCredit unfriends Facebook; Munich Re, ABN Amro report Q2 earnings

Latin America: BTG Pactual's Q2 profit jumps 13.6%; Argentina holds key rate

North America: Regulators plan global sandbox; Goldman Sachs probed over 1MDB scandal

Global Insurance: Icahn faces 'uphill battle;' CVS/Aetna clear DoJ hurdle; disasters hit Munich Re

Janna Estares, Sally Wang, Jonathan Cheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.

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