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Morning Briefing

The earnings of banks in the US rose by seven percent in the second quarter over last year, according to the FDIC's quarterly report on the industry.

As the economy continues to recover, the 6,348 US banks reported earnings of $43 billion, a 7.3 percent increase on second quarter earnings last year — the highest number on record. However, other measures of bank profitability remained depressed.

Banks' loan balances rose by $185 billion, or 2.2 percent, compared with the first quarter of the year, representing the highest quarterly increase since 2010.

In Argentina, the central bank has accused HSBC of failing to prevent tax evasion and money laundering and ordered the bank to replace its chief executive in the country within 24 hours.

Last year, Argentine authorities accused HSBC of helping over 4,000 clients with tax evasion.

Argentina's central bank said HSBC Argentina's president and chief executive, Gabriel Martino, "had not directed the necessary measures to mitigate and adequately address the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities."

Barclays is selling its Portugal-based non-core assets, including retail banking, wealth and insurance management businesses, to Spain's Bankinter SA for about €175 million, as part of chairman John McFarlane's turnaround plan for the bank.

Citigroup too is in the process of shedding non-core assets and has agreed to sell its consumer banking business in Hungary to Erste Group Bank for an undisclosed fee. Citi said the sale includes its retail banking, consumer loans and cards businesses as well as the transfer of consumer banking employees.

It doesn't happen often, so it's worth noting when it does: A former chief credit officer at United Commercial Bank in the US has been sentenced to eight years in prison for covering up the bank's collapsing loans. The bank failed in 2009 despite receiving a $300 million government bailout a year previously.

Shabudin was found to have falsified records to hide loan losses from auditors and investors in what the authorities described as a "delay-and-pray" scheme, while the bank received bailout funding from the Troubled Asset Relief Programme.

Vehicle loans are on the up in rural India, according to the experience of HDFC Bank, which logged over one billion rupees [$15 million] worth of vehicle loans business in the first year of offering such loans.

The bank targeted a thousand villages with loans for tractors, two-wheelers and light commercial vehicles to boost rural lending and now intends to extend the programme to other regions. Some 100 graduates were hired to roll out the service as rural sales officers, with each officer covering a 50-60 kilometre area by motorbike.

In the UK, crowdfunding business Crowdcube has become the first equity-based platform to achieve £100 million in capital raised. The returns for investors remain small on the platform, but the pace of investment is accelerating: in 2015, 109 businesses raised a total of £50 million using it whereas 290 businesses have raised capital through Crowdcube since it started operating five years ago. Crowdcube has a 52 percent share of the UK's equity crowdfunding market.

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