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Deutsche Bank settles LIBOR case; Sberbank, Erste post YOY rise in FY'17 profits

* The ECB may unwind its unconventional stimulus by the end of 2018 if economic growth continues and prices rise, according to Deutsche Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann.

* Storm Friederike, which hit the British Isles, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany in January, caused insured property market losses of €1.47 billion, according to Perils' initial loss estimate for the calamity.

UK AND IRELAND

* U.K. Prudential Regulatory Authority CEO Sam Woods hit back at criticism of the regulator's approach to implementing Europe's new Solvency II insurance capital regime, saying the PRA's focus on prudential matters has not inhibited competition. "Without minimum standards, policyholders would be much more exposed to the risks presented by imprudently run firms," Woods said.

* HSBC Holdings Plc said that the adoption of IFRS 9 accounting standards at the start of 2018 led to a decrease in its net assets by $1.00 billion, but strengthened its capital position, resulting in a 12-basis-point increase in its common equity Tier 1 ratio.

* Nearly all of the senior staff in Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc's current restructuring division have previously worked at the lender's now-defunct controversial Global Restructuring Group, according to evidence provided by RBS to an influential parliamentary committee. Treasury Select Committee Chair Nicky Morgan said the disclosure raised concerns that changes to the division had been a mere "rebranding exercise."

* Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group Plc reported unaudited preliminary profit attributable to owners of the parent of £118.4 million for full year 2017, up from £81.5 million in the year-ago period.

* Man Group Plc reported full-year 2017 statutory profit attributable to owners of the parent of $255 million, compared to a loss of $266 million in the year-ago period.

* Admiral Group Plc reported full-year 2017 consolidated after-tax profit attributable to equity holders of the parent of £334.2 million, up from £222.2 million in the prior-year period. The group said it is exploring establishing an insurance company and an insurance intermediary business in Spain to support its European operations as a result of the U.K.'s exit from the EU.

* Aldermore Group Plc named Sue Hayes group managing director for retail finance, effective June. Hayes joins from Barclays Plc, where she served as managing director of premier and community segments and savings products.

* Holmesdale Building Society said it has agreed terms to merge with Skipton Building Society, effective Oct. 1, subject to approval by its members and the U.K. PRA.

* Northview Group Ltd. named Mark Arnold CEO, according to Reuters. Arnold, who joins from private equity firm Centerbridge Partners, is expected to join the U.K.-based mortgage broker on April 10.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Deutsche Bank AG has agreed to pay $240 million to settle a private U.S. antitrust litigation by so-called "over-the-counter" investors accusing it of conspiring with other banks to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate, Reuters reported.

* Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank is expanding in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates amid expectations that sovereign bond sales and IPOs will drive deals this year, Bloomberg News reported.

* The supervisory board of HSH HoldCo, an ownership vehicle of HSH Nordbank AG's public-sector shareholders including the states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, has approved the sale of the lender to U.S. private equity firms Cerberus Capital Management LP and J.C. Flowers & Co. LLC for roughly €1 billion, insiders told Reuters. A final decision is expected to be announced today.

* DZ Bank AG reported full-year 2017 net profit of €1.10 billion under International Financial Reporting Standards, down from €1.61 billion in 2016. The German lender said it is considering "all strategic options" for transport-focused unit DVB Bank SE, which posted a pretax loss of €774 million for 2017, up from the year-ago loss of €278 million.

* Aareal Bank AG posted consolidated net income attributable to ordinary shareholders of €44 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, up from €33 million in the same period in 2016. For full year 2017, consolidated net income attributable to ordinary shareholders fell year over year to €199 million from €191 million.

* Erste Group Bank AG reported fourth-quarter 2017 IFRS net result attributable to owners of the parent of €328.6 million, up from €85.6 million in the same period in 2016. For full year 2017, the group reported an attributable net result attributable of €1.32 billion, up from the year-ago €1.26 billion.

* Bawag PSK CEO Anas Abuzaakouk told Reuters the Austrian lender is examining acquisition opportunities "primarily in Germany" and a "few in Austria," with a total balance sheet size of about €25 billion. The bank also reported a preliminary full-year 2017 net profit of €466.6 million, compared to €473.4 million a year earlier.

* As a strategic priority for 2018, Banque Cantonale de Genève is looking to increase its market share in asset management and investment funds in the Swiss market and abroad as the company steps up the development of business areas that are less capital-intensive.

FRANCE AND BENELUX

* ING Groep NV has been ordered by Dutch and U.S. authorities to provide insight into future integrity risks after being implicated in four money-laundering and corruption cases, Het Financieele Dagblad reported.

* French bank La Banque Postale SA said it will launch online bank Ma French Bank in spring 2019, Reuters reported.

SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

* Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA placed €1.5 billion of five-year nonpreferred senior debt, Europa Press reported.

* U.S.-based Pacific Investment Management Co. LLC in January made a filing with the Portuguese public prosecutor's office indicating that it may seek compensation for damages stemming from alleged insider trading of Novo Banco SA bonds, insiders told the Financial Times.

* Deposits in Portugal totaled €94.04 billion in January, the lowest level since June 2011. The main reason for the decrease is the low interest rates offered by Portuguese banks, Economia Online said.

ITALY AND GREECE

* Italy could ask the European Commission to extend by one year its authorization to offer state guarantees on senior tranches of bad loan securitization deals, Il Sole 24 Ore said. The current mandate is due to expire in September.

* Italian asset management group Quaestio is planning to launch a new fund this year to invest in nonperforming loans, MF reported.

* Italian asset management funds saw total net inflows of €9.9 billion in January, according to data from trade association Assogestioni published by MF.

* Italian stock market regulator Consob is investigating why Banca Carige SpA Chairman Giuseppe Tesauro did not inform the bank's board about businessman Raffaele Mincione's request to have a representative on the board after buying a roughly 5.4% stake in the lender, MF wrote.

* Italy's Poste Italiane SpA yesterday disclosed a five-year strategic plan under which it aims to increase net profit by 13% to €1.2 billion in 2022. The company added that it will look to pay a dividend of 42 cents per share for 2017, increasing by 5% per annum up to 2020.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Livia Vosman, head of communications at Estonia's Financial Supervisory Authority, told Reuters that the regulator will start a new investigation into Danske Bank A/S's Estonian branch, following media reports saying that the authority was aware of alleged money laundering at the unit as far back as 2013. The Estonian FSA noted that it had carried out a probe into the Danish lender's local branch in 2014, finding violations of anti-money laundering rules and in 2015 ordered the bank to address these violations more effectively.

* Nordea Bank AB (publ)'s share of Sweden's mortgage loan market fell year over year to 14.1% in January, the bank's lowest market share in this product segment since the early 1980s, Dagens Industri wrote.

* Forex Bank AB (publ) plans to scale up investments in digitalization in 2018 following a disappointing fiscal performance in 2017, Dagens Industri reported.

EASTERN EUROPE

* PAO Sberbank of Russia reported fourth-quarter 2017 group net profit of 172.4 billion Russian rubles, up from 141.8 billion rubles in the year-ago period. For full year 2017, group net profit rose to 748.7 billion rubles from 541.9 billion rubles in 2016.

* The Russian Finance Ministry plans to relax capital and other requirements for banks that are allowed to hold state funds on their accounts, Kommersant reported, adding that a relevant government decree could be ready in March.

* PAO Promsvyazbank lost 65.2 billion Russian rubles of corporate deposits in January, with the outflow continuing for the third month in a row, while the value of retail deposits held in the bank increased in January by 12.8 billion rubles, Vedomosti said.

* The Hungarian central bank maintained its base rate at 0.90% and the overnight deposit rate at negative 0.15%, as inflation nears the lower limit of its tolerance band.

* Bank Millennium SA's management board decided to not pay a dividend in respect of 2017 profit, which will be retained to bolster the lender's capital ratios, Rzeczpospolita reported. The lender last paid a dividend in 2014.

* Bank Pekao SA will target a double-digit profit growth in 2018 and maintains its 14% ROE target in 2020, news agency PAP reported.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: China unveils bond issue rules; India tells banks to fix operational gaps

Middle East & Africa: Mizrahi Tefahot to pay more dividends; FirstRand names new CEO

Latin America: Fosun inks deal for Guide Investimentos; Grupo Sura Q4 profit doubles YOY

North America: CVB Financial buying smaller Calif. peer; BofA to open 500 branches

North America Insurance: 20 US states sue govt to end ACA; Lockton dissociates from NRA-backed programs

NOW FEATURED ON S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE

Data Dispatch EMEA: Safe bonds to fortify EU banks, but success hangs on German politics: Germany's new government may back bonds which could help defuse the eurozone's dreaded "doom loop."

Dividend resumes as 'regulatory clouds' lift for Standard Chartered: The "regulatory clouds" are lifting for Standard Chartered as the impact of IFRS 9 and Basel III become clearer, CFO Andy Halford told analysts during a call.

UK's Direct Line in VW deal as insurers fret carmakers could leave them stranded: Direct Line wants to be the "partner of choice" for motor manufacturers and is also seeking more home insurance partners, CEO Paul Geddes said.

Bank of Cyprus maintains 2018 targets, says Q4 bad-loan jump a technicality: A rise in new nonperforming exposures in the fourth quarter was the result of ECB rule-tightening and is unlikely to be repeated, Bank of Cyprus executives said as they maintained their projection of a return to profitability in 2018.

Bankia looks to consumer, business lending to boost revenues: The Spanish lender plans to increase its revenues over the next three years by targeting consumer and business lending as well as higher fees in mutual funds, insurance and payments services, its CEO told analysts.

Sheryl Obejera, Ed Meza, Meike Wijers, Gerard O'Dwyer, Beata Fojcik, Heather O'Brian, Stephanie Salti, Praxilla Trabattoni and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.

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