The European Central Bank (ECB) has formally asked banks not to pay dividends or to buy their own shares until at least the end of the year. This should help them to maintain their financial strength in the coronacrisis.
According to many policy-makers at the central bank, the economic situation of the corona crisis is still too uncertain to justify the return of lenders to their shareholders, as has already been shown.
As early as March, the ECB called on euro area banks not to pay dividends at least until 1 October as long as the corona pandemic continues. For the time being, purchases of own shares, which also indirectly benefit shareholders, have also been ruled out. The ECB’s recommendations related to dividends for the years 2019 and 2020. So this is about last year’s profits and this year’s profits which will not be distributed for the time being.
An analysis by the central bank shows that euro area banks are resilient and currently resistant to the financial stress caused by the COVID. But there is also a warning. If the situation continues to deteriorate, there may be “deterioration of banking capital”, according to the researchers. This could be driven by, among other things, exposure to bad credit and losses on the financial markets.