* Shareholders of Cathay Insurance Co. Ltd. (China) approved a plan to increase the firm's registered capital by 1 billion yuan to 2.63 billion yuan, Changjiang Times reported. The insurer posted a total loss of 940 million yuan in the last ten years, the publication noted.
* Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission said domestic banks posted combined pretax profits of NT$318.05 billion in the first 11 months of 2018, up 7.5% year over year, the Taipei Times reported. The total pretax profits for the whole year are expected to set a new record, surpassing the pretax profit record of NT$320.1 billion made in 2014.
* FSC Chairman Wellington Koo said anti-money laundering rules for financial institutions dealing with low-risk clients who account for 90% of banks' clients and pose a low risk of money laundering will be announced after Feb. 5，the Taipei Times reported. The guidelines, which include a reduction in examination frequency, are aimed at facilitating financial institutions' client management without affecting their regular operations.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* Japan-based Lawson Bank Inc. said a glitch in its ATM network equipment prevented international credit card holders from withdrawing cash from ATMs at Lawson convenience stores for more than three hours on Jan. 2, Tokyo's The Nikkei reported.
* South Korea's KB Securities Co. Ltd. said Park Jeong-rim and Kim Seong-hyun, co-CEOs appointed in December, began their two-year term Jan. 2, Yonhap News Agency reported.
* Seven South Korean insurance companies — including Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance Co. Ltd.,DB Insurance Co. Ltd., KB Insurance Co. Ltd. and Hanwha General Insurance Co. Ltd. — are set to increase their car insurance premiums beginning Jan. 16, The Korea Times reported.
* The Bank of Thailand's monetary policy committee revised the country's economic growth projection to 4.2% for 2018 and 4.0% for 2019, down from its previous estimate of 4.4% and 4.2%, respectively, Manager Daily reported.
* The Life Insurance Association of Malaysia appointed Mark O'Dell its first CEO, New Straits Times reported. O'Dell was previously CEO of Manulife Insurance Bhd. for five years.
* Indonesia's Financial Services Authority will summon a number of unlicensed insurance agents as it seeks a crackdown on insurance scams and unregistered offerings, Bisnis Indonesia reported.
* Malaysian government investment fund Permodalan Nasional Bhd. appointed Hanizan Hood its chief investment officer effective Jan. 1, Malaysia's The Star reported.
* The Indian government approved the merger of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with Bank of Baroda, effective April 1, The Economic Times reported. The boards of Bank of Baroda and Dena Bank approved a swap ratio for the proposed merger of the two public sector banks, the news outlet noted.
* Syndicate Bank Ltd. and SBI Life Insurance Co. Ltd. signed a bancassurance deal to provide comprehensive financial planning products to its customers, Press Trust of India reported.
* Punjab National Bank unit PNB Housing Finance Ltd. raised 2.65 billion rupees through external commercial borrowing to be utilized for normal on-lending operations, Press Trust of India reported.
* Bangladesh-based Janata Bank Ltd. posted a net loss of 31.32 billion rupees in the first nine months of 2018 as loan irregularities finally take a toll, The Daily Star reported.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* AMP Ltd. opened a dedicated "deceased estate" phone hotline and email address to provide specialist advice services to brokers, lawyers and family members impacted by the royal banking commission's revelations that the company charged dead customers with fees and premiums, The Australian Financial Review reported.
* Australian lenders were asked to reignite "affordable and timely" lending after new data revealed national house prices suffered their worst year since the global financial crisis, The Australian reported, citing Josh Frydenberg.
* Insurance Australia Group Ltd. increased the limit of its main catastrophe cover to A$9 billion to provide additional protection above modelled exposure.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Middle East & Africa: Sharjah boosts offer for Invest Bank; regulator weighs SABB-Alawwal Bank merger
Europe: Deutsche Bank chair rules out need for state aid; Carige capital woes in focus
Latin America: Chairmen resign from BTG, Banco do Brasil; Banco Itapúa in merger talks
North America: Equifax may come under regulatory scanner; banks look to cut credit card rewards
Global Insurance: Reinsurance prices fall; AIG, Arch complete purchases; Fidelis launches sidecar
R Sio, Sally Wang, Jonathan Cheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.
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