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Morning Briefing

Morning Briefing

Slower growth, albeit of a higher quality, is squeezing bank earnings in China, Wang Hongzhang, chairman of China Construction Bank, said at the World Economic Forum in Dalian, China.

"The new normal has created a lot of tension in the last few years," Mr Wang said, adding that banks that survive will be stronger in the long run. He also said that China's banks would benefit from new opportunities as a result of deregulation changing rules on deposits, lending and account settlement.

India's prime minister Narendra Modi has held discussions with senior bankers and industry leaders about the possibility of setting up a national asset management company to relieve the burden of bad debt on the banking sector, according to the Economic Times.

The possibility of a national agency taking over the bulk of banks' non-performing debts has been on the table before, but this time around the government is looking at linking the proposal with the ability of India's state-run banks to improve their market capitalisation.

Meanwhile, an EY India survey of bankers in India has found that the industry's bad loan crisis has been made worse by borrowers diverting funds to unrelated businesses through fraudulent means. A majority of the bankers surveyed also said that most borrowers misuse the restructuring norms set by regulatory authorities. They warned that the bad loan crisis would worsen before it improves.

In Rwanda, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has extended a $6 million line of credit to Access Bank Rwanda to be used for the support of small and medium-sized entrepreneurs and women in business.

The line of credit was extended under the AfDB SME programme; a four-year $125 million programme targeting about 25 financial institutions in Africa.

The rush to embrace contactless payments is making some people nervous in Australia where a parliamentary committee has recommended that consumers be made to "opt in" to tap-and-go credit card functionality amid concern that new technologies are leading to an increase in low-value transactions on stolen cards.

In UK news, a survey of 10,000 current account holders by price comparison website uSwitch has found that RBS, HSBC, Lloyds and Barclays have all dropped down the order in terms of customer satisfaction ratings. The findings come a few weeks ahead of the results of a regulators' review of the UK's current account market.

Meanwhile, Sky News reports that UK challenger bank Metro has asked investment bankers to pitch for roles advising on a potential £1 billion IPO — which could happen during the first quarter of 2016.

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