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Spain's De Guindos set for key ECB post; HSBC FY'17 profit up on Asia growth

* The Eurogroup of finance ministers endorsed the candidacy of Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos to replace Vítor Constâncio as ECB vice president, after Ireland withdrew the candidacy of its central bank governor, Philip Lane. De Guindos said he will resign from the Spanish government in the coming days, El País said.

* The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision published a report that assesses how technology-driven innovation in financial services may affect the banking industry and the activities of supervisors in the near to medium term.

* European Stability Mechanism Managing Director Klaus Regling said the European Monetary Fund, which is being planned to replace the ESM, should be independent of the European Commission, Reuters wrote, citing Ausburger Allgemeine Zeitung.

UK AND IRELAND

* HSBC Holdings Plc reported a loss attributable to ordinary shareholders of the parent company of $274 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared to a loss of $4.44 billion in the same period in 2016. The bank said its pivot to Asia drove over 75% of its full-year 2017 profit, which rose to $9.68 billion from $1.30 billion a year ago.

* The boards of Fidessa Group Plc and Temenos Group AG confirmed that they are in advanced talks regarding a possible all-cash offer by Temenos for the entire issued and to-be-issued share capital of Fidessa. The total value of the possible offer is around £36.48 per Fidessa share.

* Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said bitcoin has "pretty much failed" as a currency measured by standard benchmarks, adding that it is not used as a medium of exchange, Reuters reported. However, Carney acknowledged that bitcoin's underlying technology could potentially be useful as a means for financial transactions to be verified in a decentralized way.

* The Central Bank of Ireland ordered CBL Insurance Europe dac, a unit of New Zealand-based CBL Corp. Ltd., to stop writing business, effective immediately. Earlier in February, New Zealand's stock exchange suspended CBL's shares from trading amid concerns over whether the company has provided all material information to the market.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Doris Leuthard, a member of the Swiss Federal Council, is among candidates to become chair of Raiffeisen Gruppe Switzerland, Aargauer Zeitung wrote.

* Members of Germany's center-left Social Democrats, or SPD, will begin voting today on whether to join a so-called grand coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, Deutsche Welle wrote. Should the SPD members reject the coalition deal, potential outcomes include new elections or an attempt by Merkel to lead a minority government.

* Deutsche Bank AG has started the process for at least 250 layoffs in its corporate and investment bank, insiders told Bloomberg News. The layoffs reportedly result from the investment bank getting no closer to improving revenues and returns.

* Deutsche Börse AG shareholders are opposing the appointment 66-year-old Gerd Häusler to the board, saying they prefer younger candidates, Handelsblatt noted.

* Talanx AG and Zurich Gruppe Deutschland joined forces to develop and offer a private pension scheme for corporate employees in Germany as early as in the second quarter, Handelsblatt noted.

* Donner & Reuschel AG entered a cooperation with Berlin-based fintech firm Elinvar GmbH to integrate the latter's digitized wealth management service into the bank's portfolio, Börsen-Zeitung wrote.

* An affiliate of U.S.-based Eli Global LLC will acquire finanzen.de AG, a Berlin-based online marketplace for retail customer leads in the finance and insurance sectors, and its subsidiaries from BlackFin Capital Partners and finanzen.de's founders for undisclosed terms.

FRANCE AND BENELUX

* A portrait of Crédit Mutuel Arkéa SACC Chairman Jean-Pierre Denis in Le Monde pointed to historic allegations of conflicts of interest between Crédit Mutuel Strasbourg and the Conféderation Nationale du Crédit Mutuel that eventually led Arkéa to want to split from the rest of the group.

* ING Groep NV is trying to prevent embattled commodities trader Noble Group Ltd. from going bust, Het Financieele Dagblad reported. An ING spokesman told FD that the bank is leading a group of creditors that has arranged a $700 million trade finance facility for Noble Group, allowing it to continue trading.

SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

* Banco Santander SA is seeking the return of a combined €21.9 million paid to Banco Popular Español SA's former chairman, Ángel Ron, and his deputy, Francisco Gómez as part of their early retirement, according to Expansión. Santander is also refusing to pay the remaining deferred parts of the two executives' bonuses.

* Mapfre SA is preparing to launch a real estate investment fund in Luxembourg focused on offices in France, Germany and the Netherlands, Expansión wrote.

* Portuguese Treasury Secretary Ricardo Mourinho Félix played down reports over the weekend that the country's banking resolution fund would have to inject more capital into Novo Banco SA, according to Público. The bank is expected to report a 2017 net loss of between €1.6 billion and €1.8 billion due to hefty loan provisions, Jornal de Negócios wrote.

* Meanwhile, former customers of Banco Espírito Santo SA who bought commercial paper prior to the bank's collapse will start to receive compensation payments in April under a government-led initiative that involves the creation of a credit recovery fund, Jornal de Negócios reported.

ITALY AND GREECE

* Italian banks that still own some 8% of payments firm Nexi SpA, including Banco BPM SpA, Credito Valtellinese SpA, BPER Banca SpA, Unione di Banche Italiane SpA and Iccrea Holding SpA, are negotiating the sale of their stakes in a deal valued at between €150 million and €200 million, Il Sole 24 Ore wrote.

* Creval launched its €700 million cash call after the prospectus gained approval from market regulator Consob.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Sydbank A/S reported fourth-quarter 2017 group profit of 327 million Danish kroner, down from 444 million kroner in the year-ago period. Jyske Bank A/S, meanwhile, reported fourth-quarter 2017 profit after tax of 780 million kroner, down from 1.20 billion kroner in the same period in 2016.

* The Danish Financial Supervisory Authority concluded that former small savings bank Sparekassen Lolland A/S collapsed due to a risky and failed business strategy, Finanswatch reported. The FSA said Lolland, which was taken over by Jyske Bank in 2013, focused too much on real estate.

* Swedish authorities are concerned about the decline in cash usage as most shops and other establishments in the country now only accept plastic or mobile payments, Bloomberg wrote.

* Swedish payment services provider Klarna has closed down its Tel Aviv operations to focus on its core business, DI Digital reported.

* Norwegian police raided the offices of brokerage Nordic Securities and charged several employees with financial crime, TV2 reported. Nordic Securities lost its license to provide investment services early in 2017 after routinely breaking provisions in the Securities Act.

EASTERN EUROPE

* ABLV Bank AS was forced to seek temporary liquidity support from the Latvian central bank after clients withdrew €600 million in deposits from the lender following a warning by the U.S. that it wanted to impose sanctions on the bank, Reuters reported. The Latvian central bank agreed to provide €97.5 million worth of funding to ABLV. Meanwhile, Latvian central bank Governor Ilmars Rimševics, suspected of having solicited a €100,000 bribe, was released by the country's Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau.

* Companies Accles Holdings Ltd. and Gatecraft Ltd., controlled by Russian businessman Alexander Mamut, increased their total stake in Otkritie Holding JSC to 19.6%, Vedomosti reported. Prior to the purchases, Accles Holdings had an 11.6% stake in Otkritie Holding, while Gatecraft did not own any shares of the company.

* PAO Promsvyazbank set up a division tasked with preparing for potential U.S. sanctions that could be imposed due to its cooperation with the defense sector, RBK Daily reported.

* Dubai-based Emirates NBD Bank PJSC is looking to submit its bid for PAO Sberbank of Russia's Turkish unit, DenizBank AS, in March, insiders told Bloomberg.

* Korona, a Hungarian blockchain-based cryptocurrency, is expected to be launched March 26, according to the Budapest Business Journal. Korona's developers said it will be a means of payment suitable for actual transactions, unlike 90% of existing cryptocurrencies.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: Bangladesh bourse picks Chinese bid; National Australia Bank to cut 1,000 jobs

Middle East & Africa: Saudi cabinet approves bankruptcy law; Capitec Bank 'back to normal'

Latin America: Banrisul Q4'17 earnings spike; Rio under army control

NOW FEATURED ON S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE

Standard Life Aberdeen's outflow problems likely to persist despite dollar boost: While a weakening dollar has been a boost for investment houses that, like the recently merged asset manager, specialize in emerging markets, an improving environment alone might not be enough to stem outflows at the company, analysts said.

Baltic capital markets union agreement a sign of progress for EU-wide plan: Analysts say an agreement by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to create a pan-Baltic capital market will boost plans for a capital markets union across the EU, where bank lending accounts for most corporate debt.

Euronext not hit by new rules, starts 2018 with strong volumes: The Netherlands-based stock exchange operator has seen volumes increase in the first few weeks of the year, with no negative effects yet from new EU rules relating to financial instruments trading, which came into force in January.

S&P: Regulator may revise rules as new accounting hampers risk comparison: The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision may seek to revise capital rules because new accounting standards will make it harder to compare credit loss provisions across all geographies, according to S&P Global Ratings.

Leo Magno, Arno Maierbrugger, Danielle Rossingh, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Yael Schrage, Brian McCulloch, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

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