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CBA hit by money-laundering scandal; VPBank gets IPO approval

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of banking news stories and more published throughout the week. Please note that some entries may have links to third-party sources that may require a subscription.

Major Australian bank in hot water

* Commonwealth Bank of Australia is likely to face scrutiny of both domestic and international regulators after the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre on Aug. 3 filed a lawsuit against the bank for allegedly violating anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.

* The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is said to be reviewing money-laundering claims against CBA and may consider taking the matter further and fining the bank.

* The Australian Securities and Investments Commission may also pursue a case against CBA's directors for their alleged failure to protect the bank's reputation when responding to the allegations against CBA.

* Meanwhile, experts warned that the Australian bank may face regulatory scrutiny in New Zealand on possible violation of money-laundering standards, as its subsidiary in the country could be probed over the use of ATMs similar to those exploited by criminals in Australia.

* Separately, the Australian bank is facing a lawsuit for not naming climate change as an investment risk in its 2016 annual report.

* Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. said it was in compliance with anti-money laundering regulations following a report that linked the bank with CBA's case.

* The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed and settled spoofing charges against Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., ordering a US$600,000 civil monetary penalty against the Japanese company.

* Thanachart Capital PCL unit Thanachart Bank PCL denied allegations made by Energy Earth PCL in a lawsuit, saying it did not share confidential financial information of the troubled coal trader with other parties, including Krung Thai Bank PCL.

* China's banking regulator reportedly extended a deadline for banks to submit risk assessments over concerns that increased scrutiny could strain them.

* South Korea's financial regulator will impose tougher punishments on financial holding companies that violate disclosure rules.

M&A updates

* DBS Bank Ltd. completed the integration of Australia & New Zealand Banking's wealth management and retail banking businesses in Singapore following the transfer of China portfolio in mid-July.

* Westpac Banking Corp. reportedly engaged Morgan Stanley to help it conduct a strategic review of its motor finance and equipment finance and corporate debt book. The strategic review is likely to include a partial or full sale of the portfolio.

* Bank of India plans to divest up to a 29.96% stake in nonbanking financial company STCI Finance Ltd.

* CBA will acquire the remaining 20% stake in partly owned subsidiary Aussie Home Loans. The bank is also in talks for a potential sale of its life insurance businesses in Australia and New Zealand.

* Philippine Savings Bank will sell a 20% stake in Sumisho Motor Finance Corp. to GT Capital Holdings Inc. for 379.9 million pesos.

* China Commercial Credit Inc. agreed to acquire a 100% stake in Sorghum Investment Holdings Ltd. through a share exchange.

Earnings corner

* National Australia Bank Ltd. posted a 5% year-over-year increase in cash earnings for the quarter ended June 30. CBA reported a 4.6% yearly gain in cash net profit for the fiscal full year ended June 30.

* Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. and Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. reported year-over-year increases in net income for the quarter ended June 30, while Philippine National Bank's net profit dropped amid lower gains on asset sales.

* Union Bank of India's fiscal first-quarter net profit dropped year over year as provisions and tax expenses surged, while Bank of India reported net profit of 877.1 million rupees for the quarter, compared to a net loss of 7.41 billion rupees in the prior-year quarter.

* Norinchukin Bank and Fukuoka Financial Group Inc. reported decline in their respective net profits while JAPAN POST BANK Co. Ltd. posted an increase in net profit for the fiscal first quarter.

In other news

* The Ho Chi Minh stock exchange approved Vietnam Prosperity JSCB's proposed IPO of around 1.33 billion shares.

* The central banks of Philippine and New Zealand, in separate decisions, kept their respective policy rates unchanged.

* Philippine-based Security Bank Corp. entered into a network extension partnership with Australia & New Zealand Banking.

* KASIKORNBANK PCL and its unit Muang Thai Group Holding Co. Ltd. established a venture capital joint venture with a registered capital of 5 million Thai baht.

* Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. and Yahoo Japan Corp. are set to establish a fintech joint venture.

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