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Doha Bank eyes Indian branch network; Google delays NAB proceedings

* Doha Bank Q.S.C. is seeking approval from the Central Bank of Qatar to apply for a local subsidiary in India, The Economic Times of India reported, citing CEO Raghavan Seetharaman. With three branches in India, the bank plans to add more and establish a retail branch network in both Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities in the country.

* The Federation of Indian Export Organizations asked the Reserve Bank of India to permit five Iranian banks -- Bank Pasargad Plc, Saman Bank (PJSC), Parsian Bank, Sarmayeh Bank and Eghtesad Novin Bank -- to open branches in India, The Economic Times reported. The banks have applied to set up branches in India as early as 2011 but the process was delayed due to economic sanctions on Iran.

* National Australia Bank Ltd.'s legal proceedings against Google Inc. regarding the incorrect distribution of personal details of 60,000 of its customers via email hit a delay after the search engine giant successfully applied to push back a court hearing by two weeks, The Australian Financial Review reported.


* The People's Bank of China will include off-balance-sheet wealth management products into its Macro Prudential Assessment suite from the first quarter of 2017, Reuters reported, citing sources. The sources added China's central bank also urged financial institutions to strengthen liquidity management and keep lending growth at a "rational and appropriate" pace in 2017.

* The China Insurance Regulatory Commission said it is the regulator's priority to support the establishment of property insurers and life insurers in central and western Chinese provinces, Caijing reported.

* Chen Tain-jy, minister of Taiwan's National Development Council, said that the island's economy has the potential to grow more than 3% in 2017, the Liberty Times reported. Chen noted that Taiwan does not have issues of a potential economic bubble and that its economy has a "promising" future in the long term.

* SinoPac Financial Holdings Co. Ltd. is reviewing lending operations to improve internal oversight after a series of questionable loans led to heavy fines and a management reshuffle, the Taipei Times reported. The probe came following a tip-off from the group's employees about questionable loans being approved.


* Nippon Life Insurance Co. invested ¥3 billion on yen-denominated bonds issued by India's ICICI Bank Ltd. in the Tokyo Pro-Bond Market, The Sankei Shimbun reported.

* The president of Fukuoka Financial Group Inc. said that executive decisions on its business merger with Eighteenth Bank Ltd. will be made by the end of January 2017, The Nikkei reported.

* South Korea's Woori Bank and the Seoul branch of China's Bank of Communications Co. Ltd. have launched a Chinese yuan money market trust, with an interest rate of 1.5%, the Korea Economic Daily reported. The two banks are planning to develop a number of joint products including overseas bonds.

* South Korea's Financial Supervisory Services said domestic banks can now record their bad debt reserve as a common stock capital, the Seoul Business Newspaper reported.


* Bank of Ayudhya PCL will focus on retail lending in 2017 with full-year growth targets initially set at 11% for personal loans and 15% for credit card spending, Krungthep Turakij reported, citing Thakorn Piyapan, head of Krungsri Consumer Group.

* PT Bank QNB Indonesia Tbk appointed R. Andi Kartiko Utomo and Junita Wangsadinata as directors of the company, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

* The World Bank said it expects Malaysia's economy to grow 4.3% in 2017, up from the expected 4.2% in 2016, reflecting a gradual slowdown in consumer spending and investment in the country as households adjust to temperate job prospects and moderate fiscal consolidation, The Star reported.

* Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas launched a voluntary retirement account called a Personal Equity Retirement Account, a tool comprising personal savings and investments for Filipino citizens, The Philippine Star reported, citing Amando Tetangco Jr., governor of the central bank.


* The Reserve Bank of India has tightened cash deposit rules days before the deadline of its demonetization initiative, Reuters reported. According to the new guidelines, any deposit of more than 5,000 rupees of old banknotes would be inspected by two bank officials for further scrutiny.

* The RBI also said that banks should not decline customers depositing pre-2005 currency notes, including the phased-out 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee notes, after the central bank received complaints from the public, Press Trust of India reported.

* Pakistan's Senate passed a resolution seeking the demonetization of 5,000-rupee banknotes to curb the flow of black money, the Dawn reported. Senator Usman Saif Ullah Khan tabled the resolution.

* Four strategic investors submitted bids to buy a 40% stake in the Pakistan Stock Exchange on the opening day of the bidding, The Express Tribune reported. The bourse started receiving bids for the stake Dec. 15 and will run through Dec. 22.


* Australia's NAB and real estate major REA Group signed a strategic partnership to combine home loans with property search, The Australian reported. REA Group CFO Owen Wilson said the five-year plan means property buyers could get their home loans approved without the need to physically submit their applications at branches.

* Australian mid-tier lenders -- Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Ltd., Bank of Queensland Ltd., credit union CUA, and Liberty Financial -- said the A$1.5 trillion home loan market is behaving more rationally after the big four banks stopped offering discounts, The Australian reported.

* The likely loss of Australia's AAA credit rating in 2017 might raise home loan interest rates because there is "a direct link between credit ratings and the wholesale funding costs for banks," The Australian Financial Review reported.


Middle East & Africa: Oman bucks the Fed trend; bitcoin piques Nigeria's interest

Europe: Deutsche Bank settles US 'dark pool' probe; Generali denies French ops sale

Latin America: Banco Invex to buy Mexican card portfolio; BM&FBOVESPA sets 2017 budgets

North America: Goldman Sachs to pay $56.5M to settle rate rigging suit

North America Insurance: WellCare expects to grow earnings in 2017; Fairfax to buy Allied World

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

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