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Wednesday Express: Maine banks merging; New York Life, Cigna in $6B deal

* In Maine, Bangor Bancorp MHC and Damariscotta Bankshares agreed to merge in a $35 million deal expected to close in the second quarter of 2020.

* Elsewhere, in Texas, Wichita Falls Bancshares agreed to acquire in-state peer Chico Bancorp and unit First State Bank in a deal expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.

* Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella said about $250 million will be paid as settlement by 12 financial companies accused of rigging Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds. The settlement brings the total recovery in relation to the case to $386.5 million.

* U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley is restarting its base metals trading business after withdrawing four years ago, Reuters reports, citing sources familiar with the matter.

* Sam Lek, former CEO of brokerage firm Lek Securities, has been permanently barred from the securities industry in all capacities for violating FINRA and Exchange supervisory rules and the Securities Exchange Act. Taking the actions were the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the Nasdaq Stock Market, the New York Stock Exchange, Cboe Global Markets and certain affiliated exchanges. Lek Securities was also fined $900,000.

* IndexIQ has launched two exchange-traded funds that track indexes offering broad market exposure to large-cap and medium-cap companies that satisfy environmental, social and governance criteria developed by Conviction and Responsibility in Asset Management, or CANDRIAM.

* The Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. have spotted "shortcomings" or weaknesses in the "living wills" of six of the eight largest U.S. banks, which raise questions about the banks' contingency plans. Although not as bad as deficiencies, Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, State Street and Wells Fargo were asked by the regulators to submit plans to address such shortcomings by March 31, 2020. In response, Wells Fargo said it will address the mentioned shortcoming and submit their plan as requested by the regulators.

* Carlyle Global Partners, the long-duration private equity platform of Carlyle Group, and institutional investor GIC are taking a stake in American Express Global Business Travel via an equity recapitalization deal. The new investors join the Certares-led group, which owns 50% of American Express Global Business Travel, while American Express retains the other 50% stake.

* New York Life Insurance has agreed to buy Cigna's nonmedical insurance unit for more than $6 billion, sources familiar with the matter told the Financial Times.

* Congress is expected to pass budget legislation that would extend the federal flood insurance program, clear the way for more small businesses to offer retirement savings plans and continue government backing for terrorism insurance.

* United Services Automobile Association has appointed Wayne Peacock president and CEO, effective Feb. 1, 2020.

The Daily Dose: Express Edition is updated as of 6:30 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.