RETAIL BANKING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Weekly Global News Wrap Up: Eastern European bank M&A activity heats up; Scotiabank exits nine countries

And a Fed official has raised concern about US mobile payments.

From Bloomberg: Governments in parts of eastern Europe, where growth is outpacing the euro area, are loosening their grip on state-held assets. Serbia and Slovenia are the latest to offer stakes in their banks, opening up a potential battlefield as OTP Bank Nyrt. of Hungary, Vienna-based Raiffeisen Bank International AG and Erste Group Bank AG and financial investors seek to widen their footprint in the region.

Partly as a result of pressure from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, euro-area Slovenia is offering two banks that together account for almost a third of the market and Serbia is selling a lender that controls about 11 percent of the banking industry.

"The former Yugoslav republics provide a kind of coming of age story and that makes public investments more reliable,” said Matthias Siller, a fund manager at Barings in London with $310 billion in assets under management.

From CNBC: Bank of Nova Scotia reported fourth-quarter earnings which were marginally below expectations and said it planned to exit nine countries in the Caribbean as part of a shake-up of that business.

Scotiabank said it planned to sell its banking operations in Anguilla, Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Maarten, St Vincent & the Grenadines to Republic Financial Holdings.

The bank, is also selling its insurance operations in Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago to Sagicor Financial Corporation, with whom it will partner to sell insurance products in those countries.

From CNBC: Mobile payment services such as Apple Pay could run into reimbursement problems in some instances, and fintech firms in general must be more sensitive to risks, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic said. "With all these innovations, consumers have no idea what risks they are exposed to," Bostic said.

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