LONDON, July 13 (Reuters) – The Bank of England they lifted pandemic-era restrictions on dividends from HSBC, Barclays and other top lenders with immediate effect on Tuesday, saying his stress test showed the sector was well capitalized to cope with the effects of COVID on the economy.
Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said the rapid introduction of a British vaccination program in recent months has led to an improvement in the UK’s economic prospects.
“But the risks to recovery remain. Households and businesses are likely to need continued support from the financial system as the economy recovers, and government support measures recede over the coming months,” Bailey said.
As Britain entered its first lock in March last year in the fight against COVID-19, The BoE told lenders to suspend dividends and buy back shares by the end of 2020. He also recommended the abolition of bonuses for senior staff.
The goal was to ensure that banks had enough capital to sustain lending to companies hit by the biggest economic downturn in 300 years as the pandemic developed.
The BoE eased restrictions last December as the effects of the pandemic cleared up, saying payments could continue within “protective fences”.
The BoE’s Financial Policy Committee (FPC) said on Tuesday that “extraordinary curtains in shareholder allocation are no longer needed and judge that the provisional results of the 2021 solvency stress test, along with the central outlook, are in line with this decision”.
The U.S. Central Bank said in June that large banks would no longer face the constraints of the pandemic era on how much they could spend on share buybacks and dividend payments.
The top banking supervisor of the European Central Bank, Andrea Enria, said this month that the ECB plans to allow euro area lenders to continue paying to shareholders from October, preventing a new economic downturn.
“The FPC expects banks to use all elements of their capital buffers as needed to support the economy through recovery,” BoE said in its biennial Financial Stability Report.
The board has decided to keep the so-called counter-cyclical reserve capital at zero percent at least until December, which means that any subsequent increase will take effect by the end of 2022 at the earliest.