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Morning briefing

National Bank of Australia will exit the UK retail banking business next year with the planned sell-off of the Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks.

The demerger of the Australian lenders' UK business follows efforts by NAB to refocus on its core businesses in New Zealand and Australia, the Financial Times reports. Clydesdale was fined £20.7 million earlier this year for its part in the mis-selling of payments protection insurance and what the FCA described as "serious failings in its Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) complaints handling process" between 2011 and 2013.

The PPI mis-selling scandal continues to plague other UK banks with Lloyds announcing that it would set aside a further £500 million for compensation, which will bring the total amount to close to £14 billion. Lloyds has reduced its cost-to-income ratio down to 48 percent but analyst James Chapell of Berenberg described the earnings as weak, according to the FT. The mis-selling provision is likely to be a drag on George Osborne's plan to exit state ownership of the bank, which still stands at 11 percent.

Apple Pay is to launch in Australia and Canada before the end of the year, reports Finextra, and will then launch in Singapore, Hong Kong and Spain next year. Initial indications are that Apple Pay will only be available for American Express to start with, and the Australian market may pose its own challenges because of the low merchant fees. Beyond that, new research from Phoenix Marketing suggests that the take up of Apple Pay has slowed — and recent moves from banks such as Barclays and JPMorgan Chase indicates that they have not yet given up on claiming "real estate" on mobile phones.

After declaring itself a technology company, Goldman Sachs may soon declare itself a software company, as it proceeds to spin out a new mobile-phone software business that it developed in-house. According to the Wall Street Journal, the software will give employees secure access to business documents on their smartphones. Professor Steven Shreve welcomed the move by Goldman to be more open with its internal systems and technology, contrasting the open culture of Silicon Valley with the secrecy of financial firms. "We're looking at a generation of people who believe that everything should be public," he said.

Loans by Voyager Innovations, a subsidiary of Smart Communications, have reached four billion pesos, according to the Philippine Star. The loan programme is aimed at government workers, who can apply for a loan by text and then receive online materials by email. Payments on the loan are then deducted from the employee's payroll account. "We're seeing a positive shift to mobile and digital for the consumer loan market as they provide convenience and easier access to financial services," Orlando B. Vea, president and CEO of Smart's Voyager Innovations, said.

The Economic Times of India reports that German acquirer Wirecard has bought the payments business of the Great Indian Retail Group. As part of the deal, Wirecard will acquire several companies operating payment services in India, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia under the brands "iCASHCARD", "Smartshop", "StarGlobal", "Commerce Payment". According to Dr. Markus Braun, CEO of Wirecard AG: "Great Indian (GI) Retail Group has been on the forefront of India's very dynamic and early-stage e-commerce and money remittance market for many years. Our investment into one of the region's leading payment groups secures us a strong position in one of the world's most rapidly growing electronic payment markets."

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