In light of the economic uncertainty caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, FI expects banks, including credit institutions and other financial firms such as insurance companies, to be restrictive with dividends and share buybacks until 30 September 2021. During this period, total dividends from and buybacks by the banks should not exceed 25 per cent of their aggregate net earnings for the two financial years 2019–2020.
Finansinspektionen (FI) presents in this memorandum a stress test of the Swedish banks that we conducted in the autumn of 2020. The results indicate that the major banks have significant resilience to the credit losses that could arise and also a capacity to maintain the supply of credit.
The pandemic has triggered a deep economic recession in many countries, even if a slight recovery has begun. Extensive support measures have mitigated the economic impact and reduced the uncertainty on the financial markets. During the autumn, infection rates have once again begun to increase and several countries have introduced new restrictions, which will dampen the economic recovery, even though it is uncertain to which extent.
An increase in the spread of the coronavirus will dampen the recovery in European economies and, in the long run, this could impact financial stability, writes Finansinspektionen (FI) in this year’s second stability report, which will be published today.
Large credit losses can result in otherwise profitable banks reporting a loss. This FI Analysis describes a methodology for estimating how large credit losses can be in a stressed macroeconomic scenario.
As the crisis unrolled this past spring in full force, it required fast and extraordinary measures. For example, FI lowered the countercyclical buffer requirement for the banks and encouraged them at the same time to postpone their dividend payments until the situation had become clearer. During the autumn, FI repeated its message to the banks to not make any dividend payments in 2020.
Despite positive signals, there is still considerable uncertainty about how the coronavirus pandemic will develop in the next few months in both Sweden and the rest of the world. To ensure the banks’ resilience in a situation that continues to be uncertain, the banks should suspend the payment of dividends to shareholders in 2020. This was the message from Finansinspektionen’s Director General Erik Thedéen at Fastighetsdagen today.
The COVID-19 pandemic has incurred large human and economic costs and also affected the financial sector. Maintaining own funds in financial institutions is important both for ensuring the resilience of the financial system and supporting banks' lending through this crisis.
Governments, central banks, and authorities around the world have taken powerful measures to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. These measures also helped dampen uncertainty on the financial markets. By utilising available buffers and continuing to lend to firms and households, the financial sector can dampen the impact of the crisis. It is also important to remember that the economic crisis is not over, and uncertainty is therefore high, notes Finansinspektionen (FI) in its first stability report of the year.
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in an exceptional stress for the real economy. Governments, central banks and supervisory authorities have implemented significant measures to dampen the crisis. This has helped to reduce the uncertainty on the financial markets. But we are in still in the middle of the crisis, and there is considerable uncertainty going forward.