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Latest Headlines

CNBF To Discuss Unsolicited Acquisition Proposals

Massachusetts-based CNB Financial Corp (CNBF) has announced that it plans to commence discussions with United Financial Bancorp (UFB), the holding company for United Bank, regarding UFB’s unsolicited acquisition proposal. The latter has offered to acquire each outstanding share of CNBF for $10.25 per share in a transaction consisting of an equal amount of stock and cash, subject to elections by the shareholders.

Citibank Launches Online Tax Payment Solution In Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur-based Citibank Berhad and Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri Malaysia (LHDNM) have launched CitiConnectSM e-Tax, an online payment solution that enables companies to settle their tax payments to LHDNM, the sole tax authority in Malaysia entitled to collect income taxes on behalf of the Government. For Citi, this new service complements its existing EPF e-Contribution alliance, which is currently available in Malaysia.

Nomura Adopts Western Style Bonuses

Kenichi Watanabe, CEO of Nomura, has declared that the Japanese banking major has succeeded in persuading more than half of its 1,600 investment bank staff to sign contracts that are akin to volatile western banks such as Lehman Bros. According to the new contracts, the staff gets decreased basic pay and it becomes very easy to discard them, in exchange for potentially higher performance-related bonuses.

Wells Fargo Against Emerique's Offer To Acquire Hartmarx

The group of banks led by Wells Fargo as agent, which has provided credit to Hartmarx Corp., has announced that it would oppose Emerisque’s offer to acquire Hartmarx that has been in Chapter 11 since the beginning of this year and has been unable to repay more than $114 million that it owes the bank group.

Deutsche Bank Extends Association With deVere And Partners

After successfully completing two years of association, Deutsche Bank has committed to the extension of the alliance with Mexico-based deVere Group through the roll out of a series of new proprietary growth products.

Nedbank In Talks To Buy Imperial’s South African Banking Unit

Johannesburg-based Nedbank Group, South Africa’s fourth-largest lender controlled by Old Mutual Plc, is in talks with Imperial Holdings to buy 50% stake in smaller asset-based financing firm Imperial Bank that it does not own.

Anglo Irish Bank Posts Massive Loss Of €4.1b

Dublin-based Anglo Irish Bank has reported a massive pre-tax loss of €4.1 billion for the six month period to 31 March 2009, driven by specific and collective lending impairment charges of €3.7 billion and €0.4 billion, respectively.

JP Morgan Chase Converts 2.9m WaMu Accounts In Pacific Northwest

JP Morgan Chase has successfully upgraded products and technology in the Pacific Northwest to link 343 former Washington Mutual (WaMu) branches with more than 3,200 other Chase branches. The conversion of 2.9 million accounts in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Utah follows conversion of 20 million credit card accounts onto Chase computer systems, thus increasing effectiveness and reducing costs in the process.

Fortress To Enter Into Retail Banking

In a move that can establish a foothold in the US retail banking industry, Fortress Investment Group, a private equity and hedge fund company with $26.5 billion assets, is joining hands with other private equity investors, Crestview Partners and Lightyear Capital, to inject $800 million in fresh capital into First Southern, a Florida bank.

Credit Suisse Seeks To Sell Non-Core Assets

Billions of pounds worth of European real estate property is expected to be sold in the next few months as businesses, particularly banks, seek to get rid of non core assets. Credit Suisse has begun a sale of its Canary Wharf buildings that can fetch as much as £500 million, as part of a strategy to concentrate on core banking operations.

Broadpoint Expands US Treasury Business

Broadpoint Capital, a broker-dealer subsidiary of Broadpoint Securities Group has announced that Geoffrey Harris has joined the firm’s Investment Banking Division as a Managing Director.

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Comments & Opinion

Hedge funds: challenges beyond regulations

As governments around the world scramble to reform the practices of the hedge fund industry, the EU has issued its plans for a comprehensive regulatory and supervisory framework for alternative investment funds in continental Europe. These regulatory changes pose real challenges to hedge funds, but the industry does not just have regulators to appease, it has investors to win back.

Barclays: giving out mixed signals

Although Barclays has reported profits of GBP826 million in the first quarter of 2009, increased impairment charges and write-downs on its loan book accompanied this strong performance. Despite trumpeting its impressive results, Barclays is looking to sell off key assets, suggesting that all is not well at the bank.

Australia: rates kept constant following signs of economic recovery

Citing signs of economic recovery, the Reserve Bank of Australia has elected to maintain interest rates at 3%. Despite falling house prices and expectations of rising unemployment in 2009, the stock market has picked up and there are some positive economic indications. However, the Reserve Bank must consider that banks may not pass on further rate cuts.

ATM outsourcing: a viable option for struggling banks

In the current economic environment, banks should carefully analyze the current and future total cost of ownership of their technology assets, and evaluate the outsourcing alternative. With a widespread lack of capital for costly upfront investments, renting ATM hardware and associated services becomes an attractive, and in some cases the only feasible, option to struggling banks.

UK Budget: higher taxes offer opportunities for wealth management

The government's introduction of a 50% income tax rate for those earning more than GBP150,000 is the latest move in what is being described by some as a 'war on wealth'. The clampdown is obviously bad news for the country's private banking industry, but change also brings opportunity. Wealth managers should now focus on financial planning and helping clients to minimize their tax burden.

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