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South Korea to invest in startups; India probes auditors in bank fraud

GREATER CHINA

* Personal deposits in Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. accounts surpassed 10 trillion yuan as of Feb. 1, marking the first time a Chinese bank reached such a scale, qq.com reported. The bank attracted 6.98 trillion yuan of personal deposits at county-level branches and sub-branches.

* The Turkish Treasury mandated Bank of China Ltd., HSBC Holdings Plc and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. to look into the possibility of issuing debt instruments in China's panda bond market, Reuters reported.

* The China Banking Regulatory Commission warned that acts of wrongdoing by financial institutions will be made public as part of efforts to curb risks and discourage other companies from committing such acts, Caixin reported, citing Wang Zhenzhong, deputy director of the commission.

* Chen Nan-kuang will replace Yang Chin-long as deputy governor of Taiwan's central bank, the island's Central News Agency reported, citing an announcement from the Taiwanese Presidential Office. Yang, meanwhile, is set to take over as the new governor of the central bank.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* Bank of Saga Ltd. appointed current Managing Director Hideaki Sakai as president, The Nikkei reported. Current President Yoshihiro Jinnouchi, meanwhile, will become chairman of the board.

* South Korean travelers spent a record US$17.1 billion in overseas transactions using credit cards in 2017, The Chosun Ilbo reported, citing data from the Bank of Korea.

* The South Korean government will launch a 1.2-trillion-won fund to invest in startups, Yonhap News Agency reported. Both the government and the country's private sector will contribute an equal share on a matching basis.

* Mirae Asset Capital Co. Ltd., which owns 18.24% of Mirae Asset Daewoo Co. Ltd., bought 30 billion won worth of new shares as part of Mirae Asset Daewoo's rights issuance, The Chosun Ilbo reported. The number of shares acquired is the maximum allotment allowed under the Specialized Credit Finance Business Act.

ASEAN

* Pakorn Peetathawatchai was appointed as the new president of Stock Exchange of Thailand, with a four-year term effective June 1, the country's Krungthep Turakij reported. He replaces Kesara Manchusree for the role, who is set to complete her term May 31.

* The Thai Bankers' Association is studying how to integrate the ATMs of all domestic lenders into a single "white label" network, which could serve customers of all banks and help cut operating costs, Thailand's Daily News reported.

* Thailand's Ministry of Finance said applications for licenses to operate pico-finance businesses stood at 441 as of Jan. 31, with 279 given the approval to operate, Manager Daily reported. Under guidelines set by the ministry, the loan interest rate that pico-finance service providers may charge must not exceed 36% per year and the loan amount must not exceed 50,000 baht each.

* PT BFI Finance Indonesia Tbk intends to reach 17 trillion rupiah in financing for 2018, a 15% increase from 14.3 trillion rupiah in 2017, Bisnis Indonesia reported. Further, the bank will issue 2.165 trillion rupiah worth of bonds, which will be used as working capital.

* The Philippines' Insurance Commission is expected to complete its review of the proposed amendments in the capitalization requirement for local insurers by March, The Philippine Star reported, citing Ferdinand George Florendo, deputy commissioner of the organization.

SOUTH ASIA

* Mumbai-based Bank of Maharashtra is planning to recall 15 billion rupees of perpetual bonds March 17, ahead of their call dates in 2020 and 2021, as the lender looks to retire expensive debt and replenish its risk buffers, Bloomberg News reported, citing "a person familiar with the matter."

* The Indian government is examining the role of auditors from companies involved in a fraud case of 114 billion rupees at Punjab National Bank to find out if they failed to fulfill their duties, The Economic Times reported, citing "a top government official."

* The board of India-based YES BANK Ltd. approved a plan to raise up to 30 billion rupees through an issuance of nonconvertible, redeemable, unsecured, Basel III-compliant Tier 2 debentures.

* Bharti AXA Life Insurance Co. Ltd. is in discussions with a number of medium-sized and large banks to enter into a potential bancassurance deal, The Hindu Business Line reported, citing Vikas Seth, the insurance company's managing director and CEO.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Commonwealth Bank of Australia said its clients have more options to pay as they can now access Samsung's contactless payments platform, Samsung Pay, to make secure payments via wearables and other compatible devices made by the South Korean electronics company.

* Australia's House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics has pushed its next public hearing to mid-October, after the Royal Commission submits its interim findings by Sept. 30, The Australian reported. The committee plans to interrogate executives of the country's major banks, such as CBA, on a number of matters disclosed in interim reports from Kenneth Hayne's Royal Commission into the financial services sector.

* The largest banks in Australia are well under the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority's 30% cap for interest-only loans, but the banks might start lowering interest rates to attract borrowers to take out such loans, according to The Australian, citing analysts.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Middle East & Africa: Commercial Bank agrees to sell UAB stake; dividend rule hits Nigeria bank stocks

Europe: Lloyds plans £1B share buyback; ABN Amro, BNP Paribas in Luxembourg deal

Latin America: Grupo Elektra Q4'17 profit nosedives; Principal-MetLife Afore merger completed

North America: Morgan Stanley drops some global clients; Flagstar buying Santander portfolio

North America Insurance: US to ease curbs on short-term insurance; MetLife sells Mexican pension fund biz

R Sio, Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, Jaekwon Lim, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.

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