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Monday Express: Tennessee banks in deal; Goldman to double staffing in China

* Dyer, Tenn.-based Dyer F & M Bancshares signed a definitive merger agreement under which its unit Farmers & Merchants Bank will merge into Paris, Tenn.-based Security Bank and Trust. Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close mid-2020, were not disclosed.

* A federal jury in Texas decided that Wells Fargo must pay $102.8 million for violating United Services Automobile Association's patents for a mobile deposit system, Bloomberg News reports. In response, Wells Fargo said it disagrees with the ruling and is considering options, including an appeal.

* Goldman Sachs intends to double its staffing in China, to 600, over the next five years, provided the country continues to open up its financial markets, Bloomberg News reports, citing a person familiar with the matter. In an interview with the news outlet, Todd Leland, co-president of Goldman's Asia-Pacific operations outside of Japan, declined to comment on the bank's staffing target but said that hiring will be competitive, and that the company's expansion in China will be partly fueled by significant growth in asset management.

* According to JPMorgan strategists, institutional interest in Bitcoin-related contracts seems to have increased, signaling high anticipation of the launch of CME Group's Bitcoin options on Jan. 13, Bloomberg News reports.

* LM Funding America entered into a stock purchase agreement, pursuant to which the company sold all the issued and outstanding shares of its wholly owned subsidiary, IIU, to Craven House Capital North America at the purchase price of about $3.6 million. The transaction closed Jan. 8.

* In the U.S., money managers will likely be pressed to invest in technology in order to save costs and increase efficiency, sources told Pensions & Investments. Additionally, asset managers are also expected to be subjected to stronger demands for transparency from institutional investors with regards to their investment strategy fees and environmental, social and governance offerings.

* The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware gave preliminary approval of the settlement in the stockholder derivative action, filed in late 2017, related to CPI Card Group's IPO in 2015. The derivative action alleged that the defendants breached their fiduciary duties by making and/or causing CPI Card Group to make false and misleading statements of material fact to the investing public and failing to maintain internal controls at the company.

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