* The Islamic Financial Services Board's proposal for central banks to establish and operationalize a Shariah-compliant lender of last resort framework could help boost the Islamic banking industry's stability by curbing banks' exposure to liquidity risks, according to S&P Global Ratings.
GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
* The Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) established a new listing division as part of an organizational restructuring of the bourse's markets division, Argaam reported. Nayef al-Athel was appointed head of the new division.
* Shareholders of United Arab Emirates-based Invest Bank PSC approved the continuation of the lender's activities despite losses that reached half of its subscribed capital. The usage of special and legal reserves of 450.7 million dirhams each to cover for accumulated losses or the provisions due to be taken as per the central bank's instructions was also approved.
* The UAE's Securities and Commodities Authority suspended four licensed companies and fined 27 firms for violating regulations, Argaam reported.
* Abu Dhabi National Insurance Co. PSC has partnered with First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC to offer customers new payment options through digital wallet Payit, TradeArabia reported.
* Mohammad al-Mortada al-Dandashi, a shareholder of Al Ramz Corp. Investment and Development PJSC, said a May 14 transaction over 21 million shares of the company was only a transfer of shares with a UAE-based lender for financing purposes and that he has no plans to sell any of his shares in the short or medium term.
* Capital Intelligence Ratings affirmed the long- and short-term foreign-currency ratings of National Bank of Oman SAOG, Bank Muscat SAOG and Oman Arab Bank SAOC at BBB-/A3 and assigned the lenders "bb+" bank stand-alone ratings. National Bank of Oman and Oman Arab Bank were also assigned core financial strength ratings of "bbb-" and extraordinary support levels of moderate.
* Oman mandated several international banks, including HSBC, JPMorgan, Standard Chartered and First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC, for a bond issue that could reach $2 billion, insiders told Reuters.
* Oman's Capital Market Authority has introduced a new regulation that governs merger and acquisitions in the country, Oman Daily reported.
REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* The Bank of Israel kept the interest rate unchanged at 0.25%.
* Israel-based Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd. reported first-quarter net profit attributable to shareholders of 404 million shekels, up from 343 million shekels a year ago.
* The license of Arian Bank, an Afghan lender with Iranian shareholders, was revoked by the central bank of Afghanistan, Arab News reported. A spokesman for the central bank said the cancellation of the license was due to Arian Bank's "grave violations" of the regulator's laws and regulations.
* The monetary policy committee of Egypt's central bank will likely keep interest rates unchanged at its May 23 meeting, Daily News Egypt wrote, citing analysts at HC Securities.
* A draft banking law aimed at protecting Egypt's banking system in the event of a crisis and upgrading governance of the central bank and other lenders operating in the country, among other things, is expected to be referred to the Egyptian House of Representatives before the end of May, an insider told Amwal al Ghad.
* Attijariwafa bank Egypt SAE is looking to increase its credit portfolio of medium and large businesses to 15 billion Egyptian pounds by 2019-end, Amwal Al Ghad reported, citing the lender's head of corporate and investment banking, Tamer Yousri Ragheb.
* Suez Canal Bank SAE Chairperson and Managing Director Hussein Refaey said the Egyptian lender's strategy in the coming years includes expanding investment banking and nonbank financial services, Daily News Egypt reported.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Kenyan lenders KCB Bank Kenya Ltd., Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd., Co-operative Bank of Kenya Ltd., Diamond Trust Bank Kenya Ltd.and NIC Group PLC launched the pilot phase of a mobile loan product aimed at small businesses, the Central Bank of Kenya said.
* Kenya's central bank is seeking feedback on a draft microfinance bill that will set out proposed changes to the existing and regulatory and supervisory framework for microfinance banks.
* Kenyan lawmakers are seeking an explanation from National Bank of Kenya Ltd. on why it failed to submit itself for statutory audit by the country's auditor-general, Business Daily Africa reported. Lawmakers suspect it could be an attempt by the lender, which has declined the auditor-general's audit requests, to cover up malpractices.
* The IMF completed the third review of its three-year lending arrangement with Mauritania, unlocking roughly $22.8 million of financial support for the African nation.
* Bank of Ghana Governor Ernest Addison said the central bank's efforts to bring down the policy rate are being undermined by the high levels of nonperforming loans in the country's banking industry, Joy Business reported.
* Ecobank Ghana Ltd. Managing Director Dan Sackey said the lender will continue building its capital buffers in 2019 before declaring dividends, Joy Business wrote. Shareholders have not received dividends for the past two years.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* Former Credit Suisse Group AG banker Detelina Subeva pleaded guilty on a U.S. charge that she conspired to launder money from a scheme involving $2 billion in loans to Mozambican state-owned firms, Reuters reported. Fellow former Credit Suisse bankers Andrew Pearse and Surjan Singh are also charged in the case, along with former Mozambique Finance Minister Manuel Chang.
* South Africa-based financial services firm Alexander Forbes Group Holdings Ltd. said it plans to exit the Ugandan market and that it is reviewing its operations in emerging markets, The East African reported.
* The Republic of the Congo's finance ministry said the Senate has voted to approve the restructuring of part of the country's $2.5 billion debt with China, Reuters reported. The IMF previously said the move was necessary to unlock financial support.
* The World Bank plans to increase the financing of the private sector in Angola between 2020 and 2025. The idea is to give tools to the country to consolidate economic diversification process, the main strategy to reduce oil dependency, Angola Press reported.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: BoComm Life gets OK on wealth subsidiary; Pakistan raises key interest rate
Europe: Deutsche Bank in the news; Novo Banco posts loss; Carige gets extra time
Latin America: Guedes broaches Caixa privatization; Kirchner to seek Argentine vice presidency
North America: NYDFS conserves Municipal CU; Morgan Stanley buys stake in French asset manager
Global Insurance: Lloyd's syndicates fined; Goldman buying Aston Lark; Japanese insurers' earnings
Erin Tanchico, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.