By Ian Walker 
 

ING Groep NV said Monday that it won't pay an interim dividend from its 2020 earnings and will review any further dividend payments after Oct. 1.

The Dutch bank said its decision follows recommendations from the European Central Bank on Friday. The ECB has asked banks to suspend dividend payments through October to preserve lending capacity during the coronavirus crisis, a call that comes about two weeks after a group of eight big U.S. banks suspended their own stock buybacks to conserve capital.

The ECB, in a statement Friday, said the recommendation "concerns dividends for 2019 and 2020, at least until" October of this year. It said its recommendation to forgo dividends was "to boost banks' capacity to absorb losses and support lending to households, small business and corporates" during the pandemic.

"While we are well capitalized and funded, and strive to provide our shareholders an attractive return, we think it is prudent to follow the ECB's recommendations for all European banks regarding dividend payments, enabling us even greater flexibility to support our customers and society in this crisis and work together with governments and regulators towards a recovery," ING Chief Executive Ralph Hamers said.

 

Write to Ian Walker at ian.walker@wsj.com; @IanWalk40289749

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 30, 2020 01:55 ET (05:55 GMT)

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