Britain’s biggest banks including Barclays, RBS, Santander, Lloyds and HSBC have scrapped dividends as the country grapples with the coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement, the Prudential Regulation Authority, which is part of the Bank of England, said: “Although the decisions taken today will result in shareholders not receiving dividends, they are a sensible precautionary step given the unique role that banks need to play in supporting the wider economy through a period of economic disruption.”
The banks were expected to pay a total of £15.6bn to shareholders, according to analysis from investment firm AJ Bell.
Barclays chairman Nigel Higgins said suspending the payment was a “difficult decision”.
“The bank has a strong capital base, but we think it is right and prudent, for the many businesses and people that we support, to take these steps now, and ensure that Barclays is well placed to continue doing what we can to help through this crisis,” he added.