* Spain-based Banco de Sabadell SA has entered into a 10-year service agreement with IT firm IBM to accelerate its digitalization process. As part of the deal, IBM will build and manage the private cloud environment of Sabadell's U.K-based unit TSB Banking Group PLC, which suffered from a failed IT migration in 2018.
* Austrian finance minister Gernot Blümel has described the ECB's low-interest policy a "catastrophe for savers" and urged the ECB to enforce a stronger reduction of euro member states' debt rather than punishing savers, Handelsblatt wrote.
UK AND IRELAND
* The U.K.'s plan to finalize a trade deal with the EU by the end of the year is "very ambitious" but failure to achieve this will have a material effect on the country's credit quality, Bloomberg News wrote, citing Sarah Carlson, senior vice president at Moody's.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* Germany's financial supervisory authority BaFin is looking closely at 25 German banks it suspects of being particularly vulnerable to money laundering, Handelsblatt wrote.
* Berlin-based fintech firn Acatus GmbH received a securitization license from Luxembourg financial supervisory authority CSF, meaning it can now securitize loans throughout Europe. The license makes Acatus one of only 33 regulated securitization companies in Luxembourg.
* Switzerland's CSS Versicherung AG is selling its corporate client business to Zurich Insurance Group AG as it looks to refocus only on its core business, finews.ch wrote.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* NIBC Bank NV will discontinue its capital markets activities within corporate client offering. The move will affect about 50 staff members.
* The French government lowered the interest rate on Livret A accounts to 0.5% from 0.75%, effective Feb. 1, news outlets including Les Echos reported. It is the lowest rate ever for Livret A, which has 55 million open accounts.
* ASR Nederland NV struck a deal with private bank Van Lanschot Kempen NV for the transfer of its investment accounts, Het Financieele Dagblad reported. The deal, which will allow more than 15,000 customers with an investment account at ASR Bank NV to move to Evi van Lanschot free of charge, is the final step in insurer ASR's move to suspend its banking activities.
* Banque Degroof Petercam SA and one of its traders, Patrick Maerevoet, paid the Belgian regulator FSMA a total of €125,000 to settle an investigation into market manipulation in 2016, L'Echo reported.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* The Unicaja Banking Foundation has chosen to retain control of Unicaja Banco SA and has agreed to provide a reserve financing fund, Expansión wrote, citing news agency EFE which cited sources. The decision, which marks a change in the trend of other large Spanish banking foundations losing control of their respective banks, is up for central bank approval.
* Portuguese leftist party Bloco de Esquerda has called for investigations into accusations of banks trading sensitive credit information for a decade. Bloco is demanding a parliamentary hearing with the country's competition authority, the central bank governor as well as the heads of the accused banks, Jornal de Negócios reported.
ITALY AND GREECE
* Swedish debt recovery firm Intrum AB (publ) is expected to complete its due diligence to potentially acquire Cerved Group SpA's debt management unit by mid-February, insiders told Reuters. The business has also seen interest from Credito Fondiario SpA, which is reportedly prepared to consider a reverse merger to fold its business into Cerved Credit Management.
* Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA's de-risking plan, which could involve the possible creation of a bad bank that will house its remaining bad loans and a good bank that would quickly be sold on the market, could receive EU approval by early February, MF wrote. Blackstone, Hines, Ardian and De Agostini Real Estate are expected to present offers for the bank's real estate portfolio.
* Delfin, the financial holding company of businessman Leonardo Del Vecchio, has so far not sought authorization to increase its stake in Mediobanca - Banca di Credito Finanziario SpA to beyond 10%, Il Sole 24 Ore cited parliamentary relations minister Federico D'Inca as saying. Reuters also covered this.
* Banca Farmafactoring SpA is considering acquiring DEPObank - Banca Depositaria Italiana SpA in a cash and stock deal, according to Il Sole 24 Ore.
* illimity Bank SpA CEO Corrado Passera has ruled out taking part in the potential banking consolidation trend in Italy and said the lender will continue as a standalone entity in the management of bad loans, MF wrote.
* Unione di Banche Italiane SpA has put up for sale a real estate portfolio believed to be worth between €200 million to €300 million, MF reported.
* Nykredit A/S has raised its 2019 pretax profit outlook for the third time, by 450 million Danish kroner from the previous range of between 7.25 billion kroner to 7.75 billion kroner, citing positive development in legacy derivatives driven by interest rate trends in the fourth quarter of 2019 as well as high remortgaging activity during the quarter.
* Swedish pension fund Första AP-fonden has sold most of its holdings in Swedbank AB (publ), Realtid reported. In December 2019, the fund sold 8.5 million shares in the lender for an average price of 130 kronor, which means a loss of 100 million kronor.
* Denmark's Vestjysk Bank A/S has followed the lead of most of its peers by introducing a negative 0.75% interest rate on deposits from private customers, Berlingske Business wrote.
* Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his Cabinet resigned yesterday after President Vladimir Putin proposed major amendments to the country's constitution, a move that raised speculation that he plans to maintain power after the end of his term. Putin endorsed Mikhail Mishustin, the head of the country's Federal Tax Service, for prime minister.
* The Russian government is considering the issuance of additional shares of VTB Bank PJSC as part of its future privatization, Vedomosti reported, citing Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev.
* Latvia's Financial and Capital Market Commission approved the sale of the remaining chunk of mortgage loans of Danske Bank A/S' Latvian branch to AS Citadele banka. The sale will be finalized in February, Reuters noted.
* Getin Holding SA secured the approval of the Ukrainian competition watchdog to sell JSC Idea Bank to Dragon Capital Investments, Parkiet reported.
* The Czech finance ministry prepared a bill transposing the EU's requirements on increasing the resilience of banks to the Czech legislative system, E15 wrote, adding that local lenders will have to increase their capital by almost 150 billion koruny within four years under the new legislation.
* Bulgarian Development Bank AD wants to invest at least 15% of its loan portfolio into energy efficiency and eco-innovation projects in the next three years, SEENews reported, citing CEO Stoyan Mavrodiev.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: MUFG to get new head; Australia raises levies on financial firms
Middle East & Africa: Fitch affirms UAE banks; Bank Muscat FY'19 profit up; Allianz Cameroon names CEO
Latin America: Fosun said to sell 2 Brazil financial firms; BNP Paribas Mexico's bank license
North America: BofA Q4'19 profit up; Morningstar nears SEC settlement; BlackRock AUM grows 24%
Global Insurance: UnitedHealth earnings up; Chubb cat losses; R&Q joint CEO out; top 5 risks
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Deza Mones, Daniel Stephens, Meike Wijers, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Yael Schrage, Brian McCulloch, Sophie Davies, and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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