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ANZ preps sale of wealth biz; ASEAN banking integration moves forward

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.

ANZ to sell wealth biz, more M&A news

* Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. is set to release information over a potential sale of its Australian wealth business. The bank will be putting out an information memorandum shortly which would be the starting point for discussions with potential suitors.

* State Bank of India completed its merger with five subsidiaries and Bharatiya Mahila Bank. The six-way merger has pushed State Bank of India to become one of the 50 largest banks in the world in terms of assets.

* Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp is "actively studying" an acquisition of a U.S. lender as it looks to secure a reliable U.S. dollar funding source amid ultra-low interest rates.

* Industrial Bank of Korea plans to acquire a bank in Indonesia as part of efforts to re-enter the Southeast Asian country.

* Axis Bank Ltd. agreed to sell a 10% stake in Experian Credit Information Co. of India Ltd. for 640 million rupees in cash.

* Tochigi Bank Ltd. completed its acquisition of a 58.44% stake in Utsunomiya Securities Co. Ltd. Following the deal closing, Tochigi Bank owns a 60% stake in Utsunomiya Securities.

* Daishi Bank Ltd. and Hokuetsu Bank Ltd. agreed to merge and will set up a joint holding company by April 2, 2018.

* Canada's Sun Life Financial Inc. acquired a 25% stake in Vietnam's Crescent Asia Ltd., which owns digital bank Timo. Under the partnership, Timo will be able to offer life and health insurance products to its members.

Regulatory developments

* Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas concluded an agreement with Bank Negara Malaysia and entered into a bilateral agreement with the Bank of Thailand under the ASEAN Banking Integration Framework. The ASEAN banking accord allows banks to expand more easily in the region and is part of a greater regional initiative to create a single economic bloc for ASEAN countries.

* Separately, Bank Negara Malaysia and the Bank of Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on the supervision of banks operating in Malaysia and Thailand and financial development.

* Australia's banking and securities regulators introduced tighter rules for the home loan sector, including setting new limits on banks' interest-only lending and starting a targeted surveillance of banks and brokers that inappropriately recommend such loans.

* The State Bank of Vietnam proposed allowing weak financial institutions to declare bankruptcy. The regulator is also looking to have a separate law that would enhance the restructuring of banks over the next five years.

* The Reserve Bank of India decided to keep the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility unchanged at 6.25%. The reverse repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility was raised to 6.0% from 5.75%.

* The Reserve Bank of Australia kept its cash rate unchanged at 1.50% amid low inflation in the country.

* Bangladesh Bank issued show-cause notices for NRB Commercial Bank Ltd.'s chairman and CEO on irregularities, including the forging of signatures of four absent bank directors.

New players in the banking space

* K Bank became South Korea's first internet-only bank to start operations.

* Kakao Bank, another South Korean internet-only bank, is expected to commence operations in late June after obtaining approval from the Financial Services Commission.

* Malaysia's central bank approved the establishment of the Development Bank of Sarawak. The bank will offer loans that will help fund the state's strategic projects.

* India's central bank granted final licenses to Fino Paytech and National Securities Depository Ltd. to set up payments banks in the country.

In other news

* Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public reported a profit after tax of 72.55 billion Lao kip for the quarter ended March 31.

* Bank of Ayudhya PCL established a new subsidiary to engage in venture capital business.

* New York-based Raine Group LLC established an Indian subsidiary, which is expected to begin operations in early May.

* Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance Co. Ltd. agreed to form an asset management service entity with U.S.-based Greenbrier Cos. Inc.

* Three Indian banks and a private equity firm-led consortium invested a total of US$270 million in microfinance lender Spandana Sphoorty Financial Ltd. The lender expects the funding to facilitate its exit from the corporate debt restructuring cell.

* Shengjing Bank Co. Ltd. withdrew its IPO application with the China Securities Regulatory Commission due to recent changes in shareholding structure and core members of the board.

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