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ECB to halt QE after December; Deutsche Bank off-loads $1B ship loans


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ECB to halt QE after December; Deutsche Bank off-loads $1B ship loans

* The ECB plans to cut its monthly asset purchases from €30 billion currently at the end of September to €15 billion for a final three months before ending them after December in a move widely anticipated by markets, but warned of "uncertainties surrounding the inflation outlook." The regulator also noted that interest rates are set to remain at zero percent at least through summer 2019 and for as long as necessary to meet inflation targets.

* A group of 37 European banks, including Groupe BPCE, ABN Amro Group NV and Société Générale SA, are launching a pilot scheme to look at ways of making mortgages more energy-efficient.


* The Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority has warned that a small number of firms were prone to sudden losses should customers on zero percent interest credit card offers borrow less than expected or leave earlier, the Financial Times reported.

* A federal jury in Brooklyn, N.Y., convicted Mark Johnson, HSBC Holdings PLC's former global head of foreign-exchange cash trading, on eight counts of wire fraud and one count of wire-fraud conspiracy after it found him guilty on charges of misusing information on a client's currency trade to net the bank millions of dollars in profits, The Wall Street Journal reported. Johnson's legal team plans to appeal the verdict.

* Ulster Bank Ireland DAC will pay out €36 million of refunds at most after it overcharged 18,000 customers an average of "less than €2,000" on interest payments, Reuters reported.

* U.K.-based digital invoicing technology provider Tungsten Corp. PLC will enter talks with shareholders, led by Odey Asset Management LLP, who are demanding the ouster of its chairman and CEO.


* Deutsche Bank AG sold a portfolio of nonperforming shipping loans worth $1 billion to investment management firms Oak Hill Advisors LP and Värde Partners Inc. at an undisclosed price, Reuters noted.

* HSH Nordbank AG booked a pretax loss of roughly €60 million for the first quarter, as the German lender's results were weighed down by one-offs and costs for its privatization, insiders told Reuters. Christian Nieswandt, the bank's global head of shipping, meanwhile, told the news agency that after its planned sale to private investors, it will regain financial strength to buy shipping loans from other banks and to resume making investments in the industry.

* Grenke AG increased its share capital by 2,040,816 new no-par value registered shares through a private placement at a price of €98 per share, raising gross proceeds of €200 million.

* Klaus-Peter Röhler, CEO of Allianz Versicherungs AG, told Handelsblatt that he plans to reduce the number of property insurance products by a third "to reduce complexity and administrative expenses."

* Hans Hanegraaf, CEO of Bethmann Bank AG — ABN Amro Group NV's German private banking unit, which is currently undergoing restructuring and undertaking job cuts — told Bloomberg News that the company had "a strong start in the year" and received €200 million new client fund inflows, driving total AUM to €38.7 billion.

* Raiffeisen Gruppe Switzerland said it has taken note of Swiss financial market supervisory authority Finma's recommendation for the bank's supervisory board to examine the possibility of converting from a cooperative structure into a limited company and confirmed it will start doing so in the course of its ongoing structural debate.

* Credit Suisse Group AG is scaling back its plans to expand in Ireland to shift its resources to Madrid and Frankfurt, its chief locations after Brexit, insiders told the Irish Independent.

* SIX Group AG chose Deutsche Börse AG's Clearstream Banking S.A. as strategic partner to consolidate its investment fund trading activities.


* Vincent Lecomte, co-head of BNP Paribas SA's wealth management business, said the French bank aims to add as many as 150 staff to its private banking operations across Germany over the next three years, Bloomberg News reported.

* Protection groups Malakoff Me´de´ric and Humanis have finalized the terms of their merger, according to Les Echos and L'Agefi. The newly combined group will go live from Jan. 1, 2019, and will hold €6.9 billion of equity.

* Groupe BPCE has launched in France challenger bank Fidor Bank AG, which it took over in July 2016, L'Agefi wrote.


* Emilio Saracho, the former chairman of failed Spanish lender Banco Popular Español SA, has been fined €500 by a Spanish court for failing to appear at a hearing filed by a retail investor who lost €28,000 in the bank's resolution, Expansión reported.

* Spanish insurer Santa Lucia SA Compania de Seguros y Reaseguros appointed Rodrigo Fernández-Avelló general director of its life and pensions business, Expansión wrote. He will also join the executive committee and lead the corresponding stakes in Unicorp Vida, Caja España Vida and Santalucía Vida y Pensiones.

* Portugal's government said it had selected a shortlist of potential buyers for the Spanish and South African units of state-run lender Caixa Geral de Depósitos SA, Jornal de Negócios and Dinheiro Vivo reported. The government did not name the investors.


* Intesa Sanpaolo SpA kicked off the Levante project to sell €250 million of unlikely-to-pay loans, MF reported, adding that Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA and UniCredit SpA are also disposing of such loans.

* The business plan of Intesa Sanpaolo foresees €1.5 billion for a short and long-term employee incentive scheme, COO Rosario Strano told Il Sole 24 Ore, adding that the strategy also foresees requalifying 5,000 employees to commercial activities, mostly in the insurance sector.

* Italy's banking association ABI urged the government to extend the GACS State-guarantee mechanism for the sale of NPLs — due to expire Sept. 6 — for another six months, Il Sole 24 Ore reported.

* BPER Banca SpA and Banca Popolare di Sondrio SCpA made a joint offer to take over almost 40% of asset manager Arca Holding being put on sale by Banca Popolare di Vicenza SpA and Veneto Banca SpA, Il Messaggero wrote.

* Banca Sviluppo Tuscia SpA, which went under special commissioning last summer, is looking for a buyer, MF wrote.

* Greece's Parliament approved a fast-track reform package as the nation seeks the fourth and final €12 billion installment of its €86 billion EU bailout, Reuters reported.

* The ECB's Governing Council did not object to a request by the Greek central bank to reduce the limit on emergency liquidity assistance available to Greek lenders by €1.3 billion to €10.9 billion.


* Selling shareholders in Arion banki hf.'s IPO set the final price for offering at 75 Icelandic krónur per ordinary share and 6.11 Swedish kronor per depositary receipt, which represents its shares on Nasdaq Stockholm. Assuming placement of all overallotment securities, the total offer volume amounts to roughly 39.03 billion krónur and around 3.18 billion kronor, while Arion Bank's total market capitalization will amount to approximately 135.75 billion krónur and 11.06 billion kronor.

* Norway has approved the merger of payment services providers Vipps, BankID and BankAxept , Reuters reported, citing the country's finance ministry.

* Sweden-based Cinnober Financial Techonology appointed Peter Lenardos group CFO, replacing Ninni Pramdell.

Arion Bank issue oversubscribed

* The Danish FSA has given Basisbank several orders after an inspection, including addressing credit risk and adjusting its business model to tackle other risks, Finanswatch reported.


* Latvia is stepping up efforts to clear its banks of risky cash, with deposits from people outside the EU set to decline by half over the next three months, Bloomberg News reported, citing Peters Putnins, chairman of the country's Financial Capital Market Commission.

* Azerbaijan's central bank cut its refinancing rate to 10% from 11%, Reuters reported.

* Russia could sell some of state-controlled PAO Sberbank of Russia shares to raise funds for the implementation of President Vladimir Putin's 2024 economic development plan, but will not give up control in the lender, Vedomosti reported, citing Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev.

* The Russian central bank published a draft document widening the tariff corridor used to set prices for the compulsory third party motor insurance by 20%, Kommersant reported, adding that the move will see insurance premiums growing for individual car users.

* Bank BGZ BNP Paribas SA set the issue price for its 13.3 million share offering at 60.15 Polish zlotys apiece, news agency PAP said. As part of the offering, the bank will offer up to 2.5 million shares to selected investors, while up to 10.8 million shares will be acquired to parent BNP Paribas and BNP Paribas Fortis SA.

* GetBack SA CEO Przemyslaw Dabrowski said in a letter to bondholders that the company could return to growth in two to three years, Parkiet reported. He also noted that currently there are no strategic investors willing to invest into GetBack, and that its debt restructuring proposal could change as the new management continues to analyze the firm's financial situation.


Asia-Pacific: India to cut stake in IDBI Bank; former chief of Chinese regulator admits guilt

Middle East & Africa: Qatar's 3-way bank merger talks collapse; Kenya to repeal interest rate cap

Latin America: Brazil fines 2 banks for forex manipulation; Chile central bank holds key rate

North America: Merchants Bancorp of Indiana buying Illinois bank; HomeStreet to ax 127 bankers

North America Insurance: MGA Volante in $900M capacity deal; India's ICICI to cut Prudential Plc JV stake


Rethink urged after insurers' 'indefensible' Salisbury poisoning response: Business interruption losses stemming from the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in a U.K. city are unlikely to be covered by insurance, prompting calls for a fresh approach.

Analysts question profitability, balance sheets targets in HSBC's new strategy: While the strategic update has been broadly welcomed, analysts are skeptical about the banks plans to raise profitability to 11% while only growing risk-weighted assets by around 2% per year over the next two years.

Sheryl Obejera, Arno Maierbrugger, Meike Wijers, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Yael Schrage, Stephanie Salti, Sophie Davies, and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

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