Dutch lenders with high levels of excess capital and surging profits are likely to receive approval from their top regulator to pay out funds via share buybacks, said Klaas Knot, who leads the country’s central bank.
(Bloomberg) — Dutch lenders with high levels of excess capital and surging profits are likely to receive approval from their top regulator to pay out funds via share buybacks, said Klaas Knot, who leads the country’s central bank.
Dutch banks “very comfortably” meet their regulatory capital requirements and have so-called management buffers on top of those levels, the central bank governor told reporters on Monday in Amsterdam. That would make it difficult for the Frankfurt-based European Central Bank to reject shareholder payouts, he said.
European banks are trying to juice their battered share prices with billions of euros in buybacks, in a bid to end years of meager returns for investors. While the ECB has repeatedly said that pandemic-era restrictions on payouts wont be repeated, governments in the Netherlands and elsewhere are stepping in to tax windfall profits from higher interest rates.
“If there are so many profits coming in, that will rather push those capital ratios even further up,” Knot said. That makes it “extremely difficult for Frankfurt to say no” to buybacks.
While the Dutch central banker’s comments broadly reflect the official line the ECB has taken on payouts, it’s notable that a guardian of the financial system voices support for banks’ efforts to reward investors.
Andrea Enria, who leads the ECB’s Supervisory Board, told Bloomberg in an interview last month that the watchdog “will not be in the way” of payouts if banks’ capital levels remain above its “supervisory yardsticks in a sufficiently conservative adverse scenario.”
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