* Chinese and Japanese authorities will speed up collaboration in financial areas, including the resumption of currency swap deals, which they agreed to start negotiations on in May, Tokyo's The Nikkei reported, citing top finance officials in a joint statement. The two sides also agreed to rapidly implement the designation of Tokyo-based banks to settle yuan payments and to allow Japanese financial institutions to invest directly in China's securities markets.
* Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co. Ltd.'s total debt stood at 541.6 billion yuan as of June 30, down 9.5% from 598.2 billion yuan as of Dec. 31, 2017, Bloomberg News reported, citing figures from the group's half-year report. The decline in debt comes as HNA sold more than US$17 billion in assets in 2018.
* The Hong Kong Monetary Authority has received 29 applications for virtual bank licenses as of Aug. 31, the deadline for the first batch of applications, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a spokesman for the regulator. Applicants included Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Ltd. and online lender WeLab.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* Japan's Financial Services Agency will conduct an investigation over Saitamaken Shinkin Bank's role on a suspected money laundering activity, The Mainichi Shimbun reported. The regulator suspects that a total of ¥1.87 billion was laundered abroad through the bank in the past two years.
* South Korea's Financial Services Commission approved the change of Hyundai Life Insurance Co. Ltd.'s controlling shareholder to Taiwan-based Fubon Life Insurance Co. Ltd. from the Hyundai Motor Group, Yonhap News Agency reported. A shareholder meeting will be called on Sept. 13 to rename the company Fubon Hyundai Life Insurance Co. Ltd. before Fubon Life increases its stake to 62.4% from 48.6% on Sept. 14.
* South Korea-based Hanwha General Insurance Co. Ltd. said it has decided to raise up to US$400 million from subordinated bonds, Yonhap News Agency reported.
* The Thai Bankers' Association said heavy interbank money transfers at the end of the month caused the system crash at several banks on Aug. 31, adding that the crash was not due to hackers, Bangkok Post reported.
* Indonesia's Financial Services Authority has issued rules governing the emergence of financial technology companies, specifying the time period for sandbox testing and subsequent registration with the regulator, Bisnis Indonesia reported.
* Moody's said Bank Negara Malaysia's introduction of new measures to its foreign exchange administration on Aug. 18 allowed greater flexibility in managing export proceeds and hedging foreign currency obligations, The Star reported. The new measures required exporters to convert three-quarters of their proceeds to ringgit and restricted transactions in the offshore non-deliverable forwards market, which Moody's said could result in greater currency stability as it reduces the steps involved in retaining earnings within the country.
* Singapore-based Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Ltd. COO Ching Wei Hong was appointed chairman of payments services group Network for Electronic Transfers (Singapore) Pte Ltd., or NETS, replacing Tan Su Shan. The appointment is effective Sept. 1.
* The board of India-based IDBI Bank Ltd. approved the issuance of equity capital to Life Insurance Corp. of India as part of the insurer's plan to increase its shareholding in the bank. The issuance, which would consist of up to 14.90% of the bank's post issued paid up capital, is subject to shareholders' approval.
* State Bank of India increased its benchmark lending rates, or marginal cost of funds-based lending rates, by 20 basis points, effective Sept. 1, Press Trust of India reported. The rate hikes follows the Reserve Bank of India's move to increase its policy repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.5%.
* India-based Fino Payments Bank Ltd. is looking for alternative revenue streams after the central bank banned it from opening new accounts, Press Trust of India reported, citing Rishi Gupta, managing director and CEO of the payments bank. The bank was temporarily banned from opening new accounts until it complies with the central bank's deposit limit of 100,000 rupees.
* The Reserve Bank of India canceled the license of Bhilwara Mahila Urban Co-operative Bank Ltd. due to insufficient capital and earnings prospects, among other things. The cancellation took effect Aug. 31.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* Australia-based Macquarie Group Ltd. is said to have divested its remaining stake in wealth manager Yellow Brick Road Holdings Ltd., which was less than 5%, The Australian Financial Review reported, citing sources. Macquarie began off-loading its stake in Yellow Brick Road in April, with Mercantile Investment Co. Ltd. acquiring a large tranche of shares in the wealth manager.
* The Australian Securities and Investments Commission and Westpac Banking Corp. will head to court over the lender's use of the household expenditure measure, which is based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics' household expenditure survey, in automatically approving home loan applications, The Australian Financial Review reported. The corporate regulator said Westpac relied heavily on the estimates without using customers' declared living "in any way."
* Australia-headquartered Suncorp Group Ltd. said it will raise interest rates on all variable rate home and small business loans by 17 basis points and 10 basis points per year, respectively. The moves will take effect Sept. 14. Meanwhile, Adelaide Bank Ltd. is hiking variable rates for investors and owner-occupiers paying principal and interest by 12 basis points, among other increases, The Australian reported.
Janna Estares, Sally Wang, Jonathan Cheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.
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