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China Minsheng eyes Novo Banco; Allianz closing Australia aviation insurance biz

* China Minsheng Financial Holding is competing against U.S. private equity funds Apollo Global Management LLC and Centerbridge Partners LP and private equity firm Lone Star to buy Portugal's Novo Banco SA, Reuters reported, citing four sources.

* Mizuho Bank Ltd. is expected to sign an agreement with PAO Sberbank of Russia to cooperate in the fintech space, The Nikkei reported.

* Asian Development Bank lowered its economic growth forecast for developing Asia in 2016 to 5.6% from 5.7%, mainly due to the economic slowdown in India, Associated Press reported.

* Allianz Group has decided to close its aviation insurance business in Australia, potentially affecting about 3,000 aviation-related insurance policies that it underwrites in the Australian market which are worth about A$20 million, The Australian reported.


* Shang Fulin, chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, said joint stock banks in China should strictly prevent compliance risks, credit risks, cross-market and cross-industry risks, as well as liquidity risks, Caixin reported.

* Leshi Holding (Beijing) Co. Ltd. intends to apply to set up an internet bank in China's Shanxi province, Tencent Finance reported.

* Xiang Junbo, chairman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, urged the country's insurers to be providers of long-term capital, rather than speculators for the short term, Reuters reported. Xiang said insurers should be financial investors with good intentions, rather than hostile acquirers and controllers.

* Xiang also said during a meeting with major insurers that the regulator will adopt a filing system for insurance companies owning 5% of listed companies' shares, and forbid them from using leveraged funds to make equity purchases, Tencent Finance reported. The chairman also hinted at the possibility of canceling insurance licenses for those who fail to abide by regulations.

* Taiwan's central bank questioned the validity of a Bloomberg News report that said that the island is more of a currency manipulator than China, the Taipei Times reported. The central bank said the report was based on inaccurate information.


* Hitachi Capital Corp. plans to issue ¥30 billion of 60-year hybrid bonds, The Nikkei reported.

* Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten and Google Inc. have partnered to launch Android Pay in Japan, the latter's mobile payment solution, The Nikkei reported. Apple Pay was launched in Japan in October.

* South Korea's financial watchdogs will proceed with an industry-wide inspection on the internal control systems of all financial institutions, starting with nonbanking-sector businesses and then moving on to insurance and security companies, the Kookmin Ilbo reported.

* South Korea's Financial Supervisory Service is working with local banks to create a new set of criteria for added interest on mortgage loans in order to keep lenders from charging high rates arbitrarily, Yonhap News Agency reported. The current standards have some irrational factors in calculating added interest rates on home-backed loans, the FSS said.


* Government Savings Bank set its 2017 loan and deposit growth targets at between 3% and 4.5%, Krungthep Turakij reported.

* PT Bank Pan Indonesia Tbk plans to continue focusing on the commercial and retail segments for growth, Bisnis Indonesia reported, citing the bank's director, Hendrawan Danusaputra. In addition, Danusaputra said the lender has yet to hear again from Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. regarding its plan to sell shares in the Indonesian bank.

* PT Bank Syariah Bukopin shareholders agreed to raise an additional 100 billion rupiah of capital, Bisnis Indonesia reported, citing the bank's CEO, Riyanto. He said the additional funds would be used to finance business activities and investment.

* PT Bank Permata Tbk appointed Ridha D.M. Wirakusumah as CEO, replacing Roy Arman Afandy, Bisnis Indonesia reported. The bank also named Loh Tee Boon as director, replacing Michael Alan Coye, who resigned.

* The Association of Islamic Banking Institutions Malaysia and the Association of Banks in Malaysia urged retailers and cardholders to switch to PIN-based terminals and cards as soon as possible, Bernama reported. They said using a PIN was a more secure way to pay compared to using signature and card payments without a PIN, which will soon no longer be accepted in Malaysia.


* Chipset maker Qualcomm warned that most wallet and mobile banking apps in India are not using hardware-level security that make online transactions more secure, and as such, user passwords can be stolen, Press Trust of India reported.

* India's Central Bureau of Investigation arrested K. Michael, an official at the Reserve Bank of India, after it was discovered that he was working with a state bank employee to convert around 15 million rupees worth of old banknotes for new ones without legal documentation, Agence France-Presse reported, citing a CBI official.

* Airtel Payments Bank will charge a 0.65% fee on cash withdrawals, but will not levy any charges on digital transactions from January 2017, to encourage cashless payments, the Press Trust of India reported, citing a statement from the bank.


* Private equity groups are putting more equity than debt into buyouts for the first time in 10 years, The Australian reported, citing the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association. In fiscal 2016, equity in new deals increased to 53%, the first time it has climbed above 50% in the past decade.

* New Zealand's Earthquake Commission signed an agreement with private insurance companies enabling insurers to receive, assess and settle content and house damage claims related to the November earthquakes, Stuff reported. The commission will continue to look into land damage claims itself.


Middle East & Africa: Zimbabwe cuts withdrawal charges; Japanese bank to open Saudi branch

Europe: UniCredit maps out capital-raising plan; UK further cuts Lloyds stake

Latin America: Brazil plans new economic stimulus; Seguros Monterrey for sale

North America: Pacific Premier buying Heritage Oaks for $405.6M; Highland Capital sues investor

North America Insurance: Prudential Financial under probe; New York Life unit for sale

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

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