ECB and FMA urgently recommend banks to refrain from dividend distributions and share buy-backs. | FMA Österreich

ECB and FMA urgently recommend banks to refrain from dividend distributions and share buy-backs.

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In light of the massive challenges presented by the economic effects of the global COVID-19 crisis, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) today issued an urgent recommendation to the banks that they supervise to refrain from the distribution of dividends for the recently ended financial year as well as from buying back their own shares. Both institutions however assume that the banks will initially in any case suspend such decisions for at least six months, or at least until there is clarity about further economic developments. Both ECB and the FMA have informed the banks immediately about these resolutions.

“In light of the assistance and support packages, which governments have approved to an unprecedented extent, to help the real and financial economy in this difficult situation, and protect and support them, it would be completely unthinkable for banks to diminish their financial resources by pursuing an irresponsible distribution policy,” the FMA’s Executive Directors, Helmut Ettl and Eduard Müller remarked: “At the current time, there is a need for solidarity and doing everything possible to cushion the economic shock caused by the COVID-19 crisis as far as is possible, as well as creating optimal conditions to allow us to hit the ground running again once the crisis is over.” Supervisors and regulators have already exercised the utmost flexibility to support the financial economy, especially the banks, in their role of great responsibility for the real economy: on the one hand so they themselves are able to withstand the shock and its consequences, on the other hand so they are able to support private households as well as companies through the crisis in order to be able to create the financial basis for an upturn as soon as possible.

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