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Japan to check regional banks' defenses; Paytm registers 2 insurance units

GREATER CHINA

* The People's Bank of China granted a three-year license to a credit-scoring platform, Baihang Credit Scoring, for individual online lending activity, Xinhua News Agency reported. The company was founded by eight credit companies and has a registered capital of 1 billion yuan.

* Hong Kong-based Bank of East Asia Ltd. plans to expand its consumer banking business in China amid slowing competition following Chinese regulators' ongoing crackdown on internet financing, The Nikkei reported.

* Taishin Financial Holding Co. Ltd. said Daniel Tsai, the company's chief strategy officer, has been appointed as its chief auditor, Economic Daily reported. Tsai replaces Howard Wu, who recently retired from the role.

* Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission said 22 Taiwanese banks have launched online bank account opening business, while more than 390,000 digital accounts have been opened as of the end of 2017, the island's Economic Daily reported

JAPAN AND KOREA

* Hiroshima Bank Ltd. has established Hirogin REIT Management Co. Ltd. as a new unit specializing in real estate investment trusts, The Nikkei reported. The new company is the first REIT unit set up by a regional bank in Japan.

* Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co. will increase fiscal 2017 dividend payouts to individual policyholders by about ¥7 billion, The Nikkei reported. Other major life insurance companies are expected to follow suit.

* Mirae Asset Daewoo Co. Ltd. said 65.6% of 140 million new shares available for existing shareholders have been subscribed in its rights issuance, The Financial News reported. The remaining shares will be offered to the public Feb. 26 and 27.

* The Japan Financial Services Agency is set to examine regional banks' measures against money laundering and may impose administrative penalties, such as business improvement orders, if problems are found, Jiji Press reported, citing "sources familiar with the matter."

ASEAN

* Indonesia is set to become the first Asian country to sell green bonds internationally after it launched a five-year green sukuk bond and a 10-year sukuk bond simultaneously, Reuters reported.

* Indonesia's Infobank reported that PT Bank Permata Tbk has posted a net income after tax of 748 billion rupiah for full-year 2017, signaling a return to profitability.

* Land Bank of the Philippines's net income increased 4% to 14.05 billion pesos from 13.58 billion pesos in the prior-year period, as core revenues and income from investments also increased year over year.

* BDO Leasing & Finance Inc. posted a net income of 570 million Philippine pesos in 2017 and posted gross revenues of 3.2 billion pesos, up 11% from the previous year. The company also declared a dividend of 10 centavos per share, lower than 20 centavos per share in the prior-year period.

SOUTH ASIA

* Federal Bank Ltd. plans to buy a 26% stake in Equirus Capital Pvt Ltd. for an undisclosed amount, Business Standard reported. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals.

* Aditya Birla Idea Payments Bank Ltd. has commenced operations as a payments bank, the Reserve Bank of India said in a statement. The lender is one of 11 entities that received in-principle approval from the central bank in August 2015 to set up a payments bank.

* One97 Communications Ltd unit Paytm registered two new insurance entities — Paytm Life Insurance Ltd. and Paytm General Insurance Corp. Ltd. — in line with the digital payments company's plan to offer differentiated insurance products including health insurance and motor insurance, Mint reported.

* The Nepal Stock Exchange will soon be classifying companies listed on the stock market into four categories to promote good governance and transparency, The Kathmandu Post reported, The revisions to the bourse's classification standards are subject to approval by the Securities Board of Nepal.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Australian lenders are expected to compete aggressively to extend loans to first-time home buyers and property investors as banks seek to expand their business in a home loan market that is going "sideways," The Sydney Morning Herald reported, citing Mortgage Choice, one of the country's largest mortgage brokers.

* A total of A$1.5 million in refunds that Australia-based ClearView Wealth Ltd. gave to some clients for selling more than 30,000 policies through allegedly unfair practices has affected CEO Simon Swanson, who said he paid a personal financial penalty as a shareholder of the insurer, The Australian reported.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Middle East & Africa: Samba Q4'17 profit rises 11.38% YOY; South Africa ups VAT; Zambia cuts rate

Europe: Barclays to double dividend; Axa FY'17 profit up 7%; Deutsche Bank's Brexit move

Latin America: Banco do Brasil's Q4'17 profit shoots up; Paraguay maintains key rate

North America: FDIC sues banks over Doral Bank's failure; BofA extends London HQ lease to 2032

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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