HBOS Australia Jobs boost:

UK-based financial services provider HBOS PLC is to invest £160m ($324m) in Australia. BankWest, part of the HBOS group, will launch the largest ever branch expansion programme undertaken in the country, creating more than 160 branches on the east coast of Australia over the next three to four years. The new branches will be concentrated in the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane areas, where 50% of Australia's population lives. The expansion programme involves opening more than 125 retail banking branches and 35 branches focused on business customers. The first branches will open later in 2007. The investment encompasses the branch programme and other costs, such as IT infrastructure, as well as the development of the group’s insurance and investment business.

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Citigroup Builds German Centre:

New York-headquartered provider of financial services Citigroup Inc is building a computer centre for €170m near Frankfurt, Germany. The facility will be the company's largest computer centre outside the US.

Morgan Stanley Scottish push:

New York-headquartered investment bank Morgan Stanley has announced it is to create 600 jobs in Glasgow. The jobs will be phased in over the next three years and will take the company’s workforce in the city to 1370.

ICBC Expands into US and Russia:

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, headquartered in Beijing, has applied for US and Russian banking licences as it seeks to expand internationally. “We have applied to regulatory authorities in the US, Russia and other places to set up operations,” said Jiang Jianqing, chairman of the bank.

Société Générale Euro Expansion:

French banking group Société Générale has announced that its life assurance subsidiary, Sogecap, has launched new units in Greece and Bulgaria. The banking group said the branches, which will be operational at the end of June 2007, will design and manage life assurance and savings products.