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Weekly news through May 6

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Weekly news through May 6

This weekly article offers a selectionof our top banking stories published throughout the week.

Outlier among Australian majors

was an outlier among major Australian lenders that released earnings results duringthe week of May 2, posting a 24% year-over-year decline in cash profit for the fiscalfirst half ended March 31.

ANZ the decline in cash profitto several specified items such as software capitalization changes, Asian minorityinvestment adjustments, restructuring expenses and the divestment of Esanda DealerFinance. At the same time, the bank saw a year-over-year surge in credit impairmentcharges to A$904 million from A$494 million.

andWestpac Banking Corp.,two others among the top four Australian lenders, reported 6.5% and 3%increases, respectively, in cash earnings for the six-month period ended March 31.While NAB's total chargefor bad and doubtful debts fell year over year to A$375 million, Westpac's impairmentcharges on a cash earnings basis for the half swelled to A$667 million from A$341million.

, anotherlender among the top four, is scheduled to release its earnings results May 9.

Meanwhile,Macquarie Group Ltd. reporteda 29% jump in net profitattributable to ordinary equity holders for the fiscal year ended March 31 to A$2.06billion from A$1.60 billion. Combined net profit contributions from the company'sannuity-style business, which include banking and financial services, increased10% during the fiscal year.

Elsewherein Asia-Pacific, three Chinese lenders — ChinaConstruction Bank Corp., ChinaMinsheng Banking Corp. Ltd. and ChinaEverbright Bank Co. Ltd. — postedsingle-digit increasesin profits for the quarterended March 31 amid higher impairment losses on assets. Further, Singapore'sDBS Group Holdings Ltd.'snet profit for the quarter slid 5%year over year, while South Korea's NongHyupFinancial Group Inc. and Taiwan's Cathay Financial Holding Co. Ltd. saw and 54% declines in their respective first-quarter net profits.

Bank IPOs

Kuala Lumpur-headquartered Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd. is looking to list on the Malaysian stock exchange after effortsto merge with Malaysia Building SocietyBhd. fell through in February. Mohd Munir Abdul Majid, the bank's chairman,said shareholders will have a final say on approval and timing for the proposedlisting.

In India, UjjivanFinancial Services Pvt. Ltd.'s 8.85 billion rupees IPO was by May 2, the lastday of the offering. The public issuance is expected to bring down the foreign shareholdingin the company to around 45%, a move that will help it meet regulatory requirementsfor setting up a small finance bank.

In addition, ChongqingRural Commercial Bank Co. Ltd. is looking to issue up to 1,357,000,000 shares as part of plansto list its A shares on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The bank previously listedits H shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange in 2010.

M&A news

* IFCI Ltd.'sboard approved the firm's plan to sellits remaining 3.05% stake in National Stock Exchange of India Ltd.

* The Indian government is proceeding with plans to sell up to a 10% stake in to strategic investorsin order to reduce its stake to below 50%.

* ANZ completedthe sale of its Esanda Dealer Finance portfolio and its Wealth Oasis platform.

* The Supreme Court of Queensland approved the proposed merger of Auswide Bank Ltd. and Queensland Professional Credit Union Ltd., or Your CreditUnion.

* Vietnam JointStock Commercial Bank for Industry & Trade is its proposed mergerwith Petrolimex Group Commercial JointStock Bank, or PG Bank, in September. The Vietnamese government is likelyto approve the deal in May.

* Summit Bank Ltd.won in-principle approval from the State Bank of Pakistan to carry out on

In other news

* The Reserve Bank of Australia decided to cut the cash rate by 25 basis points to 1.75%,effective May 4, following lower-than-expected inflationary pressures. The ratecut came days before Philip Lowe was appointedas the new governor of the RBA for a seven-year term, beginning Sept. 18.

* HSBC PrivateBank (Suisse) SA is appealinga HK$605 million fine imposed by Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission forits alleged misconduct in selling products to private banking clients.

* Hong Kong bank accounts of several unnamed individuals werereportedly frozen in connectionwith global investigations into the finances of troubled state fund 1Malaysia DevelopmentBhd., or 1MDB.Further, Malaysia's central bank imposedan undisclosed fine on 1MDB for its failure to comply with certain directives.

* Saigon ThuongTin Commercial Joint Stock Bank, or Sacombank, will with Japanese banks , Kinki Osaka Bank Ltd. and Saitama Resona Bank Ltd. to offer banking services for itscustomers in Vietnam, Japan and other countries.

* The Bank of Korea and the country's Finance Ministry approvedproposals to boost thecapital base of Korea DevelopmentBank and Export-ImportBank of Korea as part of efforts to restructure the shipping and shipbuildingindustries.

* Fitch Ratings affirmedthe ratings of Export-Import Bankof India, with a stable outlook.

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