* Suncorp Group Ltd.'s net profit after tax for the year ended June 30 climbed 3.6% year over year to A$1.08 billion, or 82.55 cents per share, from A$1.04 billion, or 79.59 cents per share.
* China-based peer-to-peer lending company Dianrong has raised US$220 million from global investment funds, led by Singapore sovereign fund GIC Private Ltd., to speed up and expand its growth. Other investors include China's CMIG Leasing Holdings Ltd. and South Korea-based Simone Investment Managers Co. Ltd.
* Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd. signed a strategic collaboration agreement with U.S.-based consulting company Cognizant to build the former's digital banking platform. Bank Islam CEO Khairul Kamarudin said the deal is part of the lender's efforts to continue applying financial technology to their products and services.
* CTBC Bank Co. Ltd., a unit of Taiwan's CTBC Financial Holding Co. Ltd., closed a 35.6% stake acquisition of Thailand's LH Financial Group PCL, Central News Agency reported. The shareholders of the Thai company had approved the stake sale in July.
* France-based BNP Paribas SA has so far hired about 30 people in Tokyo since January, with plans to hire more in the current fiscal year, Bloomberg News reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
* China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange said it would urge financial companies to ramp up their compliance and risk control of "neibao waidai" — a common practice of pledging domestic assets against loans issued by Chinese lenders' overseas branches for trade or investment — and to rein in fake or malicious collateral, the Financial Times reported.
* China's financial companies are increasingly working together to enter the family office business sector in the country in a bid to serve the growing number of high-net-worth clients, the South China Morning Post reported, citing industry observers. Family offices are organizations run on behalf of a high-net-worth family with the goal of wealth preservation across generations.
* Bank of Communications Co. Ltd. Chairman Niu Ximing is taking a leave of absence due to health reasons. The bank's board elected Peng Chun as interim chairman.
* Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission gave the go-ahead to securities investment trusts and consulting companies to oversee and operate private equity funds, in a bid to lure investment into projects such as green energy and infrastructure that could boost the island's economy, the Taipei Times reported.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* Japan's monetary base hit a record ¥468.3 trillion as of the end of July, Reuters reported, citing data from the Bank of Japan.
* Mitsuhiko Uehira, president of Japan Post Insurance Co. Ltd., said the company would look into M&A of domestic and overseas counterparts to boost growth, The Nikkei reported.
* Industrial Bank of Korea will set up an "exit private equity fund" worth 50 billion South Korean won by the end of 2017, aimed at helping the country's small and medium-sized enterprises at risk of becoming insolvent due to a lack of manpower and human resources, the Seoul Business Newspaper reported, citing industry observers.
* The board of directors of Sukhumvit Asset Management Co. Ltd appointed Thitima Rungkwansiriroj as president, effective Aug. 1, Manager Daily reported.
* Economic damages caused by widespread flooding in Thailand's northeastern region could reach 15.725 billion baht, or about 0.1% of the country's GDP, Manager Daily reported, citing estimates by KASIKORN Research.
* The Monetary Authority of Singapore will set up a payments council — comprising 20 industry leaders from banks, payment service providers, businesses and trade associations — in a bid to push the growth of electronic payments in the country.
* Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam has become the first Vietnamese bank to join SWIFT GPI, a global payments innovation initiative by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, Viet Nam News reported.
* Bajaj Finance Ltd. will acquire a 10.83% stake in Indian e-payment service provider One MobiKwik Systems Pvt. Ltd. for about 2.25 billion rupees. Under the agreement, Bajaj Finance will buy 10 equity shares and 271,050 compulsory convertible preference shares of MobiKwik.
* Clix Capital, a commercial leasing company, may buy Religare Housing Development Finance Corp. Ltd. from Religare Enterprises Ltd. for about 6 billion Indian rupees, The Economic Times reported. A person involved in the negotiations said the deal is in the final stages and may close by August or September.
* Nepal's Ministry of Finance has begun its search for a candidate for the role of general manager of Nepal Stock Exchange, after former General Manager Sitaram Thapaliya's term ended July 7, Himalayan News Service reported.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* Nonbank lender Liberty Financial Pty. Ltd. acquired National Mortgage Brokers Pty. Ltd. from Aussie Home Loans, a trademark of AHL Investments Pty. Ltd., The Australian reported, citing Liberty CEO James Boyle. National Mortgage Brokers employs 400 agents and has a loan book worth A$14 billion.
* Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank Ltd. and Westpac Banking Corp. are tightening identity and financial checks on borrowers, The Australian Financial Review reported. The moves follow warnings by Michael Andrew, chairman of the Australian government's Black Economy Taskforce, that widespread identity theft could "systemically undermine" the country's financial and banking system.
* Australian banks have been told to brace for a mandated "comprehensive credit reporting" initiative after the Australian Retail Credit Association told its members that public reporting only occurred in "small volumes," The Australian Financial Review reported. The move is aimed at increasing the amount of information in credit files, such as credit limits and loan repayment history.
* The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is seeking to enhance the effectiveness of its prudential regulation by simplifying its regulations and boosting its supervisory activities. Deputy Governor Grant Spencer said the two catalysts in this regard are the recent IMF Financial Sector Assessment Program report and the bank's review of bank capital adequacy.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Middle East & Africa: United Gulf Bank eyes biz split; High Court extends Imperial Bank receivership
Europe: SocGen, ING post Q2 results; Deutsche Bank sees UK job exodus
Latin America: Banco BTG Pactual income slides; Moody's lifts Bolivia's outlook
North America: Veritex buying Liberty Bancshares in Texas; Tudor facing a 'punishing shift'
North America Insurance: Alaska insurer files for 21.6% rate cut; Humana reports Q2 results
Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.
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