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Morning Briefing

Morning News

Some bankers must wonder if regulators ever sleep. In the US, it would appear not. The Federal Reserve is raising its level of scrutiny of how the country's large banks track payments worth trillions of dollars that flow through their systems each day, according to the Wall Street Journal.

JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, and Citigroup are among those that received notices from the Fed earlier this year regarding their ability to monitor payments in real-time.

JPMorgan is scheduled to meet with the Fed this week to review its responses to issues that concern the regulator, including new systems and internal groups dedicated to payment monitoring that the bank has added, the report said.

In Canada, Royal Bank of Canada raised its dividend by three percent on Wednesday when it posted third-quarter earnings ahead of analysts' expectations.

The bank reported net income of nearly C$2.47 billion for the period, up four percent on the same period in 2014.

And National Bank of Canada's performance was also ahead of expectations as its third-quarter profit grew by three percent to C$453 million. The bank said, that excluding one-off items, it earned a record C$444 million or C$1.25 per share. Revenues were up three percent to C$1.51 billion.

Tough economic times have led Standard Chartered Bank in Ghana to cut the credit it extends to businesses. The bank's managing director, Kweku Bedu-Addo, said this was a short-term strategy to improve earnings.

NIC Bank Group has announced the launch of a first for Kenya: 'NIC Konnect', a social media platform that allows customers access to their banking services through a number of different platforms including Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter.

Using a secure PIN, customers will be able to access mini-statements, account balances, funds transfers and will also be able to make utility payments and airtime purchases. More services will be added in the near future.

Also in Kenya, Safaricom, the country's leading mobile phone operator, is flexing its muscles with the banks, announcing an increase in charges for banks using its M-PESA platform to transfer funds from customers' bank accounts to the mobile money wallets of third parties.

The new charges will take effect on 1 December 2015 and will affect customers of 30 commercial banks and 160 financial institutions.

Libor may not be a gift, but it does keep on giving. Bloomberg has reported that investigators from the UK's Serious Fraud Office have interviewed current and former Deutsche Bank traders in recent weeks as a possible precursor to more charges in relation to manipulation of the Libor rate.

Bloomberg reports that at least one banker was interviewed under caution.

In Thailand, two former senior executives of state-owned Krungthai Bank have each received sentences of 18 years in jail for approving a questionable loan of more than nine billion baht to a property company. The Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Political Office Holders sentenced KTB's former president Viroj Nualkhair and former board chairman Suchai Chaovisit, as well as sentencing 17 others who were also convicted in the case.

Former prime minister of Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra, was the first defendant in the case, but he has fled the country. The court has ordered his arrest in order for him to stand trial.

Back in the UK, Barclays has shown a consistency that is not to be envied in securing the position of worst current account provider for the third time in a row, in a survey by MoneySavingExpert.com.

The survey found that 20 percent of bank customers rated its service as poor (up from 18 percent in February), with 42 percent saying it was 'ok' and 38 percent saying it was 'great'.

First Direct received accolades and the number one spot for its current account with 92 percent of its customers rating it as 'great' and only one per cent describing it as poor.

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