RETAIL BANKING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Weekly Global News Wrap Up: Wells Fargo sells 52 branches in Midwest exit; Societe Generale to pay $1.3b fine to end Libyan and US probe

And here’s why the British government sold 7.7% stake in Royal Bank of Scotland.

From Reuters: Wells Fargo & Co is pulling back from retail banking in the U.S. Midwest, selling all of its branches in three states, as the bank embarks on a broader review of branch profitability across the country. Flagstar Bancorp Inc would acquire 52 Wells Fargo branches in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin for an undisclosed amount.

Wells Fargo, the fourth-largest bank by assets in the United States, will no longer have a retail presence in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio once the deal closes, spokeswoman Bridget Braxton said.

From Bloomberg: Societe Generale SA will pay about $1.3b to resolve a probe into the bribery of Libyan officials and settle a U.S. investigation into interest-rate manipulation, drawing a line under two of the French bank’s biggest legal headaches. 

SocGen will pay $585 million to resolve charges with U.S. and French law enforcement agencies related to the Libya investigation and $275 million for violations arising from helping rig benchmark interest rates including the London InterBank Offered Rate. The bank will also pay about $475 million to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission to settle the Libor probe, according to a statement on Monday from the regulator.

From AP via CNBC: The British government sold a 7.7 percent stake in Royal Bank of Scotland on Tuesday, taking a tentative step toward returning the bank to private ownership almost a decade after it was bailed out at the height of the financial crisis.

The U.K. pumped 45.5 billion pounds into RBS as it sought to protect the nation's financial system during the financial crisis, ultimately acquiring more than 84 percent of the bank. "This sale represents a significant step in returning RBS to full private ownership and putting the financial crisis behind us," Treasury chief Philip Hammond said. "The government should not be in the business of owning banks."

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