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Michigan CUs join forces; Goldman in South Africa; Currenex buyers wanted

Comerica posted fourth-quarter 2019 net income attributable to shares of $267 million, or $1.85 per share, compared with $308 million, or $1.88 per share, in the same period in 2018.

In Michigan, Birmingham-Bloomfield CU and Lakes Community CU are joining forces effective Feb. 1, according to the websites of the two credit unions. Lakes Community CU members approved the merger Jan. 11.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. got the go signal from South African regulators to operate a bank to tap into Africa's fast-growing economies, Bloomberg News reports. The U.S. bank also became a member of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange's interest rate and currency derivatives market, according to the news outlet, citing a company statement.

State Street Corp. is looking to sell currencies trading platform Currenex Inc., and it has held informal talks in the hopes of finding a buyer, the Financial Times reports, citing multiple people familiar with discussions.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has formed a four-person team in Japan within its commercial bank to focus on mid-sized companies in that country, Reuters reports, citing Andrew Kresse, head of corporate client banking & specialized industries for international banking. Leading the new team is Shotaro Akita from Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. Ltd., together with Toshiyuki Okuyama and Masato Sato as senior bankers, and Hideki Hiramatsu from Standard Chartered PLC.

Three Democratic lawmakers have urged the Federal Trade Commission to probe the legality of Envestnet Inc.'s selling of consumers' financial transaction data it collects through Yodlee Inc. In a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph Simons, Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., said the company's database includes debit and credit card transactions from tens of millions of consumers, which Envestnet sells to data brokers, who then sell it to hedge funds and other investors that trade based on market trends they observe.

A Shanghai-based unit of Citadel Securities LLC has paid 670 million yuan to settle a trading irregularity case in China, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing the China Securities Regulatory Commission. The proprietary trading account of Citadel Shanghai Trading Ltd. was frozen during an investigation amid the Chinese stock market rout in 2015. Citadel now hopes to expand in China, a spokesman for the company told the Journal. As of Jan. 17, $1 was equivalent to 6.86 yuan.

Bank of America Corp. CEO Brian Moynihan told the Financial Times his bank could double its share in America's consumer market from about 12% to 14% at present. Moynihan said this could be achieved without increasing its branch network, noting that consumer deposits have almost doubled over the past decade despite a decrease in the number of branches during the period.

Morgan Stanley's board reduced Chairman and CEO James Gorman's total compensation for 2019 to $27 million, compared with $29 million in 2018, according to a Form 8-K filing. The board's decision was based on Gorman's individual performance, including his leadership of Morgan Stanley's long-term strategy and culture, as well as the company's financial performance.

Citigroup Inc. has launched a $150 million fund that will make equity investments in U.S.-based double bottom-line private sector companies with a positive impact on society. Companies that apply innovative solutions to address four societal challenges workforce development, financial capability, physical and social infrastructure and sustainability — could each get up to $10 million worth of investments.

Randal Quarles, Federal Reserve vice chairman for supervision, disclosed at a banking law committee meeting of the American Bar Association possible changes to how the central bank oversees banks, including the removal of major foreign banks from an extra layer of supervision. The changes, he said, would "increase transparency, accountability and fairness" and would make the process of supervising banks more efficient.

Deposits at online banks have continued to grow ahead of the broader industry growth rate despite online banks cutting deposit rates more aggressively than traditional branch-based banks, according to a report by Fitch Ratings.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: Hana Financial board OKs insurer buy; 3 Indian banks appoint heads

Europe: UBS revises targets as FY'19 profit falls; JPMorgan speeds up Brexit plans

Middle East & Africa: NBK FY'19 profit up YOY; PE firm seeks controlling stake in Isracard

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The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng decreased 2.81% to 27,985.33, while the Nikkei 225 declined 0.91% to 23,864.56.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 1.00% to 7,574.58, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.03% to 1,159.19.

On the macro front

No reports are due out today.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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