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Punjab National Bank officials arrested; Bursa Malaysia names CEO

GREATER CHINA

* The People's Bank of China launched a new liquidity mechanism, a targeted medium-term lending facility, to improve financing support for small and micro businesses and private enterprises, South China Morning Post reported.

* Sheng Yuan Holdings Ltd appointed Gao Hong an executive director and chairman, effective Dec. 19.

* Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission said it would take control measures to better manage Taiwanese banks' branches in China and prevent relevant risks as China's financial market risks continue to rise amid trade war tension between China and the U.S., the Liberty Times reported. The measures include requiring banks to set up reporting systems and stepping up financial inspections in the country.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* MUFG Bank Ltd. signed a business cooperation agreement with the Italian Trade Agency, The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun reported. The bank plans to boost its support for customers who operate businesses in Italy as well as prospective businesses looking to invest in the local market. The company will support clients' needs by providing information on available projects focused on trade and investment.

* Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. said its subsidiary, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Holdings Co. Ltd., obtained permission to operate securities business in Amsterdam ahead of Brexit, The Nikkei reported. Two other Japanese megabank groups, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and Mizuho Securities Co. Ltd., obtained approvals to operate in Frankfurt in November and December, respectively.

* Resona Holdings Inc. is planning to restructure its credit card companies to improve service and cost efficiency, The Nikkei reported. Resona's subsidiary Resona Card Co. Ltd. is expected to absorb the credit card arm of Kansai Urban Banking Corp. by April 2019 for an undisclosed amount.

* Choi Jong-ku, chairman of the South Korean Financial Services Commission, said the government will push forward to approve more internet-only banks in the country by May 2019, The Korea Times reported.

* South Korea's JB Financial Group Co. Ltd. appointed Kim Ki-hong, chief of its asset management unit, as the group's new chairman, The Financial News reported.

ASEAN

* Small & Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand pledged to maintain its minimum lending rate at 6.875% per year until at least the end of February 2019 in a bid to minimize operating costs of local small and midsize enterprises amid possible interest rate hikes in Thailand, Post Today reported, citing Mongkon Leelatham, president of the bank.

* PT Bank CIMB Niaga Tbk appointed Zafrul Aziz president commissioner to replace Nazir Razak, and approved the resignation of Armida Alisjahbana from the role of independent commissioner and Razly Abdullah from the role of director, Infobank reported.

* Tajuddin Bin Atan will step down as CEO of Bursa Malaysia Bhd. The executive will be replaced by Muhamad Umar Swift, MAA Group Bhd.'s CEO and group managing director, effective Feb. 11, 2019.

SOUTH ASIA

* Vivriti Capital, a financial technology platform, raised 2 billion rupees of equity funding from U.S.-based impact investor Creation Investments to scale up the former's balance sheet and expand its online market platform, DealStreetAsia reported.

* India's Central Bureau of Investigation arrested two directors of private firm Chandri Paper & Allied Products and eight officials associated with Punjab National Bank in connection with a case involving fraudulent letters of undertaking, The Hindu Business Line reported.

* Bangladesh Bank will work with the country's Law Commission to bail out lenders from a backlog of court cases related to nonperforming loans, The Daily Star reported.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority said it would lift restrictions on interest-only residential lending by authorized deposit-taking institutions. The supervisory benchmark on interest-only residential mortgage lending was put in place as a temporary measure in March 2017.

* The Australian Securities and Investments Commission suspended the registration of Amanda Young as a liquidator indefinitely, effective Dec. 18. The suspension was granted after Young filed an application.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Middle East & Africa: Ecobank says unaware of probe; Fitch downgrades Oman; Morocco holds key rate

Europe: Natixis, Sydbank profit warnings; Lloyds CEO faces heat; Italy budget deal

Latin America: Agrobanco revival push gets OK; Inverlink, BTG Colombia to open real estate fund

North America: Ex-Goldman banker banned for life; Citi sees $180M loss on loans to Asian fund

Global Insurance: Marriott breach losses; Japan Post-Aflac deal confirmed; new reinsurer launched

R Sio, Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.

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