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Bank deals in Maine, Texas; firms settle GSE bond rigging case for $250M


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Bank deals in Maine, Texas; firms settle GSE bond rigging case for $250M

In Maine, Bangor Bancorp MHC and Damariscotta Bankshares Inc. have agreed to merge in a deal valued at approximately $35 million. Under the terms of the transaction, Damariscotta Bank & Trust Co. will merge into Bangor Savings Bank. The deal is expected to close during the second quarter of 2020.

Meanwhile in Texas, Wichita Falls Bancshares Inc. has agreed to acquire Chico Bancorp Inc. and its unit First State Bank in a deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed in a news release announcing the transaction. Wichita Falls Bancshares is the parent company of First National Bank and had $529.8 million in assets as of Sept. 30, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

As part of a settlement, 12 financial companies have agreed to pay $250 million in damages to resolve a lawsuit claiming that they colluded to manipulate the prices of bonds issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The defendants in the latest settlement are BNP Paribas Securities Corp., Cantor Fitzgerald & Co., Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, HSBC Securities (USA) Inc., J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Inc., Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, Nomura Securities International Inc., SG Americas Securities LLC, TD Securities (USA) LLC and UBS Securities LLC. Four of the original 16 defendants — Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.; First Tennessee Bank, which rebranded as First Horizon; Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC; and Barclays Capital Inc. — have already separately reached settlement agreements in relation to the lawsuit.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, along with NASDAQ Stock Market LLC, New York Stock Exchange LLC, Cboe Global Markets Inc. and certain of their affiliated exchanges, has permanently barred former Lek Securities Corp. CEO Samuel Lek from the securities industry in all capacities for enabling manipulative trading on U.S. equity and options exchanges by foreign traders. Lek Securities was also fined $900,000 for violating, among other things, FINRA and Exchange supervisory rules and the Securities Exchange Act.

IndexIQ Inc. has rolled out two exchange-traded funds called IQ Candriam ESG US Equity ETF and IQ Candriam ESG International Equity ETF. The ETFs track indexes offering broad market exposure to large-cap and medium-cap companies satisfying environmental, social and governance standards established by Conviction and Responsibility in Asset Management, or CANDRIAM.

Morgan Stanley will restart its base metals trading business after pulling out of the line four years ago, Reuters reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The move comes as rising volumes and instability in industrial metals improved revenues for investment banks following years of lackluster market conditions.

The Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. found "shortcomings" in the resolution plans, or "living wills," of six of the eight largest U.S. banks. The Fed and the FDIC found weaknesses in the plans of Bank of America Corp., Bank of New York Mellon Corp., Citigroup Inc., State Street Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and Morgan Stanley related to the ability of the companies to reliably produce, in stressed conditions, data required to execute their resolution strategy. The weaknesses are not as severe as a deficiency, and plans to address the shortcomings are due to the regulators by March 31, 2020.

In response to the findings, Wells Fargo said that it will address such shortcomings in its 2019 resolution plan. While the Fed and FDIC found no deficiencies in the bank's plan, they saw a shortcoming related to the implementation of the company's "governance mechanism intended to facilitate [single point of entry strategy] by providing for the timely deployment of internal capital and liquidity."

Carlyle Global Partners, the long-duration private equity platform of Carlyle Group LP, and institutional investor GIC are taking a stake in American Express Global Business Travel via an equity recapitalization deal. The deal values American Express Global Business Travel at $5 billion, including debt, a person familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed in a news release, but American Express Co. will retain 50% ownership of the firm. The new investors join the Certares-led group, which holds the other 50%.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: ANZ New Zealand names CEO; China to increase fintech regulation

Europe: Crédit Agricole sees Q4 profit hit; UniCredit exits Pekao; BBVA eyes job cuts

Middle East & Africa: Tel Aviv bourse looking to boost liquidity; Morocco's central bank holds rate

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Double-digit growth, complex bank relationships lie ahead for US digital lenders: U.S. digital lenders will grow originations at a compound annual rate of 14.3% from 2019 to 2023, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence's 2019 U.S. Digital Lending Market Report.

Top credit union mortgage funders for 2018: Credit unions originated $136.86 billion in home mortgages in 2018, according to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. By comparison, banks originated $884.04 billion, and nondepository institutions originated $956.04 billion.

Despite high growth, some states have zero postcrisis de novo banks: The number of de novo applications filed since the financial crisis is on the upswing, with 21 applications filed to date in 2019 alone.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng gained 0.15% to 27,844.21, while the Nikkei 225 dropped 0.55% to 23,934.43.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.13%% to 7,535.25, and the Euronext 100 increased 0.05% to 1,141.47.

On the macro front

The MBA mortgage applications report and the EIA petroleum status report is due out today.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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