* the board of approved plans to acquirea 35.6% stake in Thailand's LH FinancialGroup PCL for 16.60 billion baht.
* TheCentral Bank of Sri Lankadecided to holdits key rates. The central bank maintained the standing deposit facility rate andthe standing lending facility rate at 6.50% and 8.00%, respectively.
* CzechRepublic-based Home Credit Group intends to invest 6 billion yuan in its businessin China to double its size by the end of 2017, China Daily reported,citing Home Credit CEO Jirí Šmejc. The executive said the company wants to diversifyits Chinese operations in 2016 by increasing the number of available loan productsand accelerating the development of its online business.
* HuangYiping, a member of the monetary policy committee at the People's Bank of China,said the country's GDP growth rate for the first quarter may be slower than theprevious quarter and the first quarter of 2015, Reuters reported.
* Chineselife insurers' premium insurance income surged 63.79% year over year to 756.82 billionyuan in January and February, while property insurers' premium income increased9.91% to 149.92 billion yuan during the period, the Securities Times reported. The combinedpremium income of 25 life insurers surpassed 10 billion yuan in the same period.
* Taiwaninvested nearly US$400 million in Vietnam in the first quarter, making Taiwan thethird-largest foreign investor to date, the island's Central News Agency reported.Investments by Taiwanese businesses accounted for 9.6% of all foreign investmentin Vietnam in the first quarter, only trailing behind South Korea and Singapore.
* is setting up anoffice in Beijing with the aim of helping Danish companies enter the Chinese market,Børsen reported.
* TaiwaneseMinister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford said state-run Mega Financial Holdings Co. Ltd. Chairman Tsai Yeou-tsairis to resign from his post, United Daily Newsreported. Chang saidTsai has offered to resign more than 10 times since October 2015, citing personalreasons. The resignation is expected to take effect April 1.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* targets a 6% increasein core operating income to ¥8.2 billion in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019,from the current fiscal year, Tokyo's TheNikkei reported.
* has signed abusiness cooperation agreement with CTBC Financial Holding Co. Ltd., The Nikkei reported.It is the Japanese bank's sixth overseas partnership.
* Japan'sFinancial Services Agency approved a business tie-up between Tokyo TY Financial Group Inc. and ShinGinko Tokyo Ltd., The Nikkei reported.The collaboration takes effect April 1.
* said itis downsizing the organization and operations of its credit card unit to adapt toa deteriorating operating environment, the SeoulEconomic Daily reported.
* TheSouth Korean credit card industry registered a 7.5% drop in combined net incometo 2 trillion won in 2015 from 2014, Yonhap News Agency reported,citing data from the Financial Supervisory Service.
* KoreaDeposit Insurance Corp. recouped 520.3 billion won from the sale of shares inthe fourth quarter of 2015, Yonhap News Agency reported.Korea Deposit Insurance Corp. has been cutting its stake in Hanwha Life since 1997following an injection of 3.5 trillion won to nationalize the company.
* TheInternational Monetary Fund expects that the Thai economy will grow by 3% in 2016and by 3.2% in 2017, respectively, Thailand's Manager Daily reported.
* Thailand'sCabinet approved a new batch of economic stimulus measures, the country's Manager Daily reported.Somchai Jitsuchon, a research director at the Thailand Development Research Institute,said he agrees with the new measures and that this third phase of economic stimulusmeasures will help boost the country's economic growth by 0.2% to 0.4% in 2016.
* Thailand'sHousing Finance Association expressed concerns over the government's low-cost housingproject for fear that it could lead to low-quality loans or a subprime crisis inthe country, as state-owned banks are accustomed to approving loans to low-incomeearners, Thailand's Daily News reported.
* Thailand'sJoint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking will revise the country'seconomic growth projection for 2016, DailyNews reported. SupantMongkolsuthree, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, expects that thenew projection might be in the range of 3% to 3.5%.
* Indonesia'sInfobank reportedthat the Financial Services Authority views cyber risk as the biggest problem confrontingtechnology banking and the financial services industry.
* and rolled out enhancements to their digital banking offerings, Singapore's Today reported.DBS introduced a mobile app called DBS Digibank, while OCBC launched an app designedfor the Apple Watch.
* TheIndian government will likely inject additional capital worth 50.5 billion rupeesin some state-owned banks in the week of March 28, the Press Trust of India reported,citing unnamed sources.
* received shareholderapproval to raise up to 2.26 billion rupees through a preferential of shares to Life Insurance Corp. of India, The Hindu Business Line reported.
* cut interestrates on deposits by 25 basis points, effective April 1, The Hindu Business Line reported.
* TheSecurities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan said it initiated enforcement actionsagainst the country's 28 modarabas with unsatisfactory track records, Reuters reported.Modarabas are small equity-like financing vehicles unique to countries with Islamicfinance.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* JohnNesbitt, CEO of Suncorp Group Ltd.'sbanking and wealth arm, said Australian banks were more focused on attracting depositsas a result of the recent jump in wholesale funding costs and looming regulatorychanges, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
* CraigDrummond, recently appointed CEOof Medibank Pvt. Ltd.,is set to receive a higher fixed base pay, which includes A$1.5 million and theopportunity to receive up to another A$4.5 million in incentive payments, than outgoingchief executive George Savvides, The SydneyMorning Herald reported.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
* TheU.K. Financial Conduct Authority is considering whether to increase its anti-moneylaundering and anti-corruption inspections of the London branches of and China Construction Bank Corp.,Reuters reported, citingChinese magazine Caixin, which referredto "unidentified sources."
* intends to hold discussionswith U.S. and U.K. investors as early as April about a potential share sale, asthe bank looks for additional capital to cover expected losses from asset sales,the Financial Times reported.
* Nonperformingloans that were over 180 days in arrears in Costa Rica's financial system grew 12.9%year over year in 2015, reaching 212.36 billion colónes, El Financiero reported,citing figures from the country's financial regulator Sugef.
* A settlementof a class-action lawsuit filed against LincolnNational Corp.'s LincolnNational Life Insurance Co. over alleged life insurance policy overchargessecured an Indiana court's final approval, accordingto a news release from Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP.
Sally Wang, Jonathan Cheah, JaekwonLim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.
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