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Morning Briefing

Morning Briefing

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted licences to eight commercial microlenders and two other companies to operate as small finance banks. The microlenders will upgrade themselves into small finance banks as part of the Indian government's latest initiative to drive financial inclusion.

The 10 successful companies were selected from 70 applicants based on their ability to raise money and the business plans they submitted to the RBI. They include some major players in the microfinance market, such as Janalakshmi Financial Services, Ujjivan Financial Services and Equitas Private Holdings, as well as smaller microlenders that operate in remote regions beyond the reach of formal banking services.

"An important factor was proposed reach into unbanked areas and underserved sections of the population," the RBI said in its statement.

Credit Suisse has announced that it will give an update on the strategy that it intends to adopt under new chief executive Tidjane Thiam to investors on 21 October.

"The strategy update will provide a briefing of Credit Suisse's business plans and organisation, as well as the financial results for the third quarter of 2015," the Swiss bank said in a statement. In recent days, it has been reported that Credit Suisse will sell its US private bank and cut its prime brokerage business as part of its revised strategy.

While speculation continues as to who will acquire GE Capital's interest in SBI Cards, the company's joint venture credit cards business with State Bank of India, it has offloaded a $3.7 billion portfolio of loans from its British home lending business as General Electric continues to pull out of financial services.

Private equity-backed Kensington Mortgage purchased the loans in what was GE's third loan portfolio sale of 2015.

MPs in the UK's House of Commons have called on the Serious Fraud Office to investigate Lloyds and one of its property advisers, Alder King, over allegations that they conspired to abuse the insolvency process.

One Labour MP accused Lloyds of "colluding" with the firm of property valuers and receivers in order to manipulate the value of properties against which loans were secured — in breach of the loan-to-value ratios on customers' secured debts. Ms Stevens said this had been done to customers when they were viewed as commercially unattractive following the banking crisis.

Lloyds and Alder King denied the allegations.

China's banking regulators have been told to "leave no stone unturned" as they seek to root out illegal activity, as part of a campaign against graft launched by the country's president Xi Jinping.

The party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said that China Banking Regulatory Commission officials had to increase their vigilance. "Handle in accordance with the rules [for] problems of breaches of discipline and the law," it said. "Ensure no stone is left unturned."

Back in India, 'Customer Insights and Intelligence' (CI&I), a new TCS software solution for retail banks, has been launched by Tata Consultancy Services.

The software is designed specifically for the retail banking industry to accelerate the transition from being product-focused organisations to customer-centric enterprises. It captures and analyses structured, unstructured, high volume, and high velocity data to create a single view of the customer and provides actionable intelligence about behaviours across channel and organisational silos, according to a statement by the company.

In Japan, Sumitomo Mitsui Card is to introduce a new type of terminal that will enable tax-free payment for credit card transactions at retail stores that take the company's credit cards. The terminal confirms credit-card information and reads personal information from passports so that merchants can prepare the necessary documents for tax-free payment, thereby facilitating smoother transactions for foreign tourists and reducing the burden on merchants.

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