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NAB flags extra A$314M costs; Suncorp mulls unit sale; Star Health deal gets nod

GREATER CHINA

* Former China Huarong Asset Management Co. Ltd. Chairman Lai Xiaomin was expelled from the Communist Party of China and dismissed from office for violating the central authorities' political discipline and rules, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission. Lai will be prosecuted for crimes including bribery and embezzlement, with illegal gains to be confiscated.

* Yao Qian, director of the People's Bank of China's Digital Money Institute, was appointed general manager of China Securities Depository and Clearing Corp. Ltd., Shanghai Securities News reported. Yao used to work for CSDC from 2002 to 2010.

* Hong Kong Mortgage Corp. Ltd. will begin purchasing infrastructure loan assets in 2019 and explore securitizing them when its portfolio becomes diverse enough, the South China Morning Post reported, citing Norman Chan Tak-lam, chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. Chan added that the corporation plans to take part in projects outside China's Belt and Road initiative.

* Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission is looking at new rules to regulate cryptocurrency trading platforms in the city despite issuing several warnings for investors to be wary of trading on the platforms, the South China Morning Post reported, citing Carlson Tong Ka-shing, the commission's outgoing chairman. Tong will step down Oct. 19 and will be replaced by Tim Lui Tim-leung.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* MUFG Bank Ltd. President Kanetsugu Mike said that the company is looking to accelerate its expansion in Indonesia, with an aim to achieve two-digit growth in loan balance after hitting ¥1 trillion at the end of March, Tokyo's The Nikkei reported. The company also plans to complete an acquisition of equity method affiliate PT Bank Danamon Indonesia Tbk by 2019, subject to regulatory approval.

* Japan-based Hachijuni Bank Ltd.'s private note business tripled in the six months ended September, exceeding its full-year record for fiscal 2017, The Nikkei reported. The number of orders the company received during the first half hit stood at 118 to ¥8.65 billion, exceeding the 98 total orders it received in the prior year.

* South Korea's Financial Supervisory Service rolled out an inspection of Mirae Asset Daewoo Co. Ltd., which will look into the brokerage's investment risks, financial soundness and internal control system, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing officials of the regulator. The inspection, set to end Nov. 6, is part of the authority's regular investigations into companies.

* South Korea-based Shinhan Financial Group Co. Ltd. entered into a strategic partnership with U.S.-based private equity giant KKR & Co. to explore overseas investment opportunities, The Korea Times reported. The two parties have yet to make a list of potential targets given the early stage of their partnership.

* The Korea Federation of Banks released new figures for cost of funds index by outstanding balance and by monthly acquired new funds, which are up one basis point and three basis points, respectively, hinting at a spike of the country's mortgage-backed loan rates, The Chosun Ilbo reported.

ASEAN

* Bank Indonesia and Bank of Japan amended their bilateral swap agreement, allowing Indonesia to swap rupiah against yen in addition to U.S. dollars. The size of the facility is unchanged at up to US$22.76 billion, according to statements from the two central banks.

* PT Bank CIMB Niaga Tbk issued 500 billion Indonesian rupiah of mudharabah sukuk and 100 billion rupiah of subordinated bonds, Bisnis Indonesia said, citing CEO Tigor Siahaan. The sukuk offering is part of a 4 trillion rupiah sukuk issuance aimed at supporting the lender's Shariah business.

* Thailand's Bank for Agriculture & Agricultural Co-operatives plans to raise 60 billion baht in deposits by issuing a new batch of savings lottery, Post Today reported. The savings lottery, with a three-year maturity, will be sold at 100 baht per unit and available from Oct. 17.

* HSBC Bank PLC named Graham FitzGerald president and CEO of HSBC Philippines, ABS-CBN News reported, citing a statement from the lender. FitzGerald replaces Jose Arnulfo Veloso, who is leaving the group to pursue other endeavors.

SOUTH ASIA

* The Competition Commission of India said it approved the acquisition of a 100% stake in private health insurer Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd. by a consortium comprising WestBridge AIF, Madison Capital and Indian billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Press Trust of India reported. The buying entity, Safecrop Holdings Pvt. Ltd., agreed in August to buy Star Health and Allied Insurance for an undisclosed sum.

* The Reserve Bank of India granted German digital lender Kreditech Holding SSL GmbH a license to run as a nonbanking financial company, Press Trust of India reported, citing a statement. Meanwhile, Chinese electronics company Xiaomi Corp. is planning to float a nonbanking financial firm called Xiaomi Financial Services India, which will soon seek regulatory approval to begin operations, The Economic Times reported.

* India's appellate company law tribunal passed an interim order granting a moratorium on all creditor actions against debt-laden Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd. and its units, effective immediately, Reuters reported, citing an IL&FS statement. The moratorium will preserve the value of the assets and help the new IL&FS board prepare a resolution plan, IL&FS said.

* Prolonged liquidity distress in India's capital markets, triggered by Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services' defaults in September, may significantly erode the credit profiles of local nonbank financial institutions, according to Moody's. The rating agency said liquidity tightness could result in higher financing costs or difficulty in rolling over the institutions' liabilities as they depend on market borrowing to fund asset growth.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* National Australia Bank Ltd. flagged additional costs of A$314 million after tax in relation to its customer remediation program, which will lower its cash earnings in the second half by an estimated A$261 million and earnings from discontinued operations by an estimated A$53 million. NAB is set to release full-year results Nov. 1.

* Australia's Suncorp Group Ltd. is considering selling its general insurance distribution arm, Resilium Pty Ltd., The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk blog reported. CEO Michael Cameron is said to have hired adviser 333 Capital to explore possible options for Resilium, including partnerships, joint ventures, a sale or an investment in the business.

* Westpac Banking Corp. and National Australia Bank agreed to pay A$22 million a year each to Australia Post to enable customers to continue conducting banking transactions in post offices across the country. This follows Commonwealth Bank of Australia's agreement with Australia Post in the week of Oct. 8, and makes Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. the only Australian major bank that has not signed up to the deal.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Middle East & Africa: Saudi stocks slump after US threat; StanChart to launch digital bank in Ghana

Europe: UK firms warned on climate change; German online bank N26 in breach of rules

Latin America: Itaú ups stake in Chilean unit; Argentine economic slump contagious, IMF warns

North America: BofA's Q3 earnings rise; Jamie Dimon drops out of Saudi conference

Global Insurance: Prudential SIFI vote due; insurers to absorb Michael hit; Manulife criticized

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

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