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UK challenger banks seek rule easing; Credit Suisse faces new spying claim


Banking Essentials Newsletter: December 7th Edition


Banking Essentials Newsletter: December 7th Edition


Spotlight on sustainability: How banks can overcome the challenges of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050


Insight Weekly: US election scenarios; borrowing costs rise; commercial REIT fears

UK challenger banks seek rule easing; Credit Suisse faces new spying claim

* U.S. specialist litigation firm Hausfeld LLP has launched a collective action in the U.K. against Barclays PLC, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, UBS Group AG, Citibank, JPMorgan and MUFG Bank, claiming that the banks took part in unlawful foreign exchange trading cartels, the Financial Times reported.

* The U.K., France, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovenia opposed several new rules saying which financial products could be regarded as green and sustainable over concerns on their impact on investments in nuclear or coal projects, Reuters reported.


* British voters are set to take part in general elections today that will either allow Prime Minister Boris Johnson to continue Brexit or push the U.K. closer to another referendum that could reverse its departure from the EU, Reuters wrote.

* British challenger banks, including Virgin Money UK Plc, TSB Banking Group PLC, Metro Bank PLC, Co-operative Bank PLC, Secure Trust Bank PLC, Monzo Bank Ltd. and Starling Bank Ltd., have urged the Bank of England to loosen postfinancial crisis rules they say are hampering their efforts to compete with the big six lenders in the U.K., insiders told Reuters. The midtier banks reportedly want the central bank to scale back their minimum requirement for own funds and eligible liabilities.

* Barclays is selling its U.S. equities automated options trading unit to electronic market maker Global Trading Systems LLC for an undisclosed sum. The deal, which includes the transfer of roughly 40 Barclays employees, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.

* U.K.-based Coventry Building Society said it has mistakenly increased its common equity Tier 1 ratio as of June 30 by 1.6% to 34.2% instead of the actual 32.6%. Despite the error, the company said it expects its CET1 ratio to reflect a considerable capital surplus above regulatory requirements.

* Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Ltd. CEO and board member Richard Rowney has resigned and will leave the British insurer by year-end.


* Colleen Graham, a former executive at a joint venture owned by Credit Suisse Group AG, claimed the bank had her trailed in July 2017 alleging it was in retaliation over a dispute regarding an accounting matter, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing U.S. labor court filings.

* Commerzbank AG said the integration of comdirect bank AG into the group will now take place through a direct merger, after the deadline of its offer to acquire the remaining stake in the digital banking unit that it does not own yet expired Dec. 6.

* German insurtech Wefox Group raised an additional $110 million in its series B funding round, increasing its total haul for 2019 to $235 million. The fundraising valued the company at more than $1 billion, an insider told Reuters.

* German bank M.M.Warburg & CO (AG & Co.) KGaA is willing to repay some of its gains from so-called cum-ex share trading schemes linked to an ongoing fraud case, according to a letter seen by Reuters. A spokesman for the lender said it has set aside some funds and could cope with any possible repayment.

* Rami el-Obeidi, a former head of foreign intelligence in Libya's National Transition Council who told associates that he was a shareholder in German payments firm Wirecard AG, funded surveillance activities on several investors suspected of manipulating the company's shares, insiders told the Financial Times.

* Axa Konzern AG is selling its banking subsidiary Axa Bank AG to U.S.-based IT firm DXC Technology Company, which will merge it with its own German banking unit Fondsdepot Bank GmbH.


* Dutch banking group ING Groep NV is developing technology aimed at helping clients store digital assets safely, insiders told Reuters.

* Société Générale SA unit Crédit du Nord SA launched a neo-bank called Prismea aimed at small business owners, Les Echos reported.

* Two government investment funds and four Belgian investment bodies have formed a consortium to take a 10% stake in Euroclear SA/NV, L'Echos reported. Insurance companies Ageas SA/NV, Belfius Insurance SA, Assurances Fédérales and Ethias SA and local federal government investment unit SFPI and Flanders's PMV are prepared to raise between €550 million and €600 million to ensure a place in the boardroom of the clearing house.

* Allianz Benelux SA is set to cut 75 jobs in Belgium, De Tijd reported.


* Banco Santander SA has pledged to become carbon neutral in 2020, saying it already reduced emissions from its operations by 27% between 2011 and 2018. The Spanish lender expects to bring down total emissions by a further 46% from 2019 to 2025.


* Italian Labour Minister Nunzia Catalfo said she will meet UniCredit SpA's management later this week to discuss the Italian banking group's planned 8,000 job cuts, 5,500 of which Italian unions expect will be made in the country, Reuters reported.

* China granted Intesa Sanpaolo SpA a fund distribution license, the first for a foreign bank, allowing it to carry out wealth management activities in the country, MF wrote, adding that the lender is targeting €50 billion in net inflows over three years from its partnership with Bank of Qingdao.

* Centerbridge and Apax may be interested in acquiring fund manager Arca, the sale of which is being explored by controlling shareholders BPER Banca SpA with a 57.06% stake and Banca Popolare di Sondrio SCpA with a 36.83% shareholding, according to MF.

* Banca Farmafactoring SpA has started the due diligence process on Depobank, the payment processing bank that was spun off from payments firm Nexi SpA a year ago, MF reported.

* Cassa depositi e prestiti SpA, the majority shareholder of digital payment processor Sia, is working on accelerating a link-up with Nexi as it seeks to thwart a possible interest from France's Worldline SA for Sia, Il Messaggero reported.


* The Danish FSA found shortcomings in the market surveillance and securities trading functions of Danske Bank A/S, Nykredit A/S, Jyske Bank A/S and Sydbank A/S and has reprimanded the lenders for irregularities that were identified after routine inspections, Børsen reported. The regulator plans to conduct a deeper probe into Danske Bank's procedures and practices to determine "the extent of underlying problems", particularly in relation to the bank's market surveillance functions, Dagens Industri noted.

* Norwegian bank DNB ASA further expanded the share buyback program it launched in October, increasing the program's size to up to 1.5% of its shares from 1.0% previously. The lender said the move follows the finance ministry's announcement that CRDIV/CRR will be implemented in Norway effective Dec. 31, which provided more clarity on future capital requirements.

* Egil Matsen, the Norwegian central bank's deputy governor responsible for overseeing the country's sovereign wealth fund, will step down before the end of his term.

* OP Financial Group announced the appointment of Annukka Nikola as chairman of the board of OP Cooperative. The changes are connected to OP's decision to move to a three-tier governance structure in January 2020.

* Iceland's central bank maintained its seven-day term deposit rate at 3% as the country's year-to-date economic developments remains in line with projections.


* Several Turkish lenders are seeking to establish an asset management company that will take over their problematic loans and give them more room to provide new credit and boost the economy, insiders told Bloomberg News. The banks reportedly plan to create the new entity by the first quarter of 2020.

* Suspicious cash withdrawals in Russia fell 52% in the last nine months, Yuri Chikhanchin, head of the country's financial monitoring agency Rosfinmonitoring, told Parliament. He stressed, however, that mounting shadow cash collection schemes that are occasionally abused by large retail chains, car dealerships, wholesale and retail markets remains a concern, Reuters wrote.

* PAO Sberbank of Russia is on track to meet its net interest margin target of between 5.1% and 5.3% in 2020, Reuters reported, citing Sberbank CFO Alexander Morozov.

* PAO Promsvyazbank plans the issuance of additional shares through which it will receive 40 billion rubles from the Russian state, Kommersant wrote. Half of this sum will be paid in cash, while the remaining part will be provided in Interregional Bank for Settlements of the Telecommunications & Postal Services, or Sviaz-Bank, shares.

* The Ukrainian government submitted a bill to the country's parliament aimed at preventing the return of JSC CB Privatbank to its previous owners, new agency Prime reported.

* Polish lenders may have to set aside portfolio provisions on their Swiss franc mortgage loans, which could lower the fourth-quarter net profit of the banking sector by a fifth, Parkiet wrote.


Asia-Pacific: Malaysia's BIMB eyes restructuring; APRA keeps bank buffers at 0%

Middle East & Africa: Israel to hold 3rd election; IMF, Ethiopia reach preliminary agreement on loan

Latin America: XP prices IPO above target range; Finvest seeks digital bank license

North America: Wells joins fee-free race; SEC OKs semi-transparent ETFs for 4 asset managers

Global Insurance: New York Life/Cigna talks; Prudential Financial caution; Axis Capital COO out


Major shareholders want Deutsche Bank chairman out early — here's why: In the nearly eight years Paul Achleitner has been chairman, Germany's largest bank has lost roughly 75% of its market value, changed three CEOs and undertaken several restructurings to little avail.

A digitized euro could prompt a complete rethink of the banking system: A central bank-issued digital currency could be a bulwark against Facebook's Libra, European policymakers say, but it would also have profound implications for the way commercial banks' deposit-taking and payments businesses work.

Abu Dhabi's new digital bank licensing attracts regional, overseas interest: Regulators are confident that the regime will offer new opportunities and streamline services for small and medium-sized enterprises in the United Arab Emirates.

Deza Mones, Arno Maierbrugger, Meike Wijers, Gerard O'Dwyer, Beata Fojcik, Yael Schrage, Brian McCulloch, Praxilla Trabattoni and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

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