Finance

Volksbank pays quarter billion in dividend to the Dutch state

The state bank announced the profit distribution on Friday. This concerns 104 million euros for last year and 145 million for 2019. This is on top of an earlier payment of 20 million for 2019. Because the amounts are already on the balance sheet as debts, the payments have no consequences for the bank’s capital position. .

Dividend ban

De Volksbank is only now paying the dividend because the European Central Bank (ECB) urged banks last spring not to give their shareholders any financial douceurs due to the major uncertainties caused by the corona crisis.

Last summer, the ECB let go of that ‘ban’, after which banks again started to pay out massive profits to their shareholders and buy their own shares. For example, ING, the largest bank in the Netherlands, announced earlier this month that it would repurchase its own shares for 1.7 billion euros. Existing shareholders benefit from this as the dividend per share increases.

Nationalization

De Volksbank is the umbrella company of SNS, ASN Bank, RegioBank and mortgage lender BLG Wonen. The parent company was founded in 2017, after predecessor SNS Reaal was nationalized in 2013.

It is still the intention that the bank will be privatized again. Outgoing Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra wrote in a progress report last summer that a decision on this should be taken by the next cabinet.

‘Not done yet’

He did indicate that de Volksbank was not yet ready to stand on its own two feet at the time. According to him, the market conditions had not improved yet. He was referring mainly to the persistently low interest rates.

The state pumped a total of more than 2 billion euros into the bank. Some of that has been returned through annual dividend payments and a one-off capital distribution of 250 million. With today’s 249 million euros, the counter stands at more than 1.1 billion euros.

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