July 17, 2019 / 5:16 AM / a month ago

Swedbank cuts payout policy amid money laundering fallout

STOCKHOLM, July 17 (Reuters) - Sweden’s Swedbank cut its dividend policy and set new targets to strengthen its capital position against a challenging background and uncertainties stemming from a Baltic money laundering.

Sweden’s oldest retail bank said it had decided to reduce its dividend policy to 50 percent from 75 percent of annual profit in order to further strengthen the bank’s capital position.

“Change occurs against the backdrop of a higher counter-cyclical buffer in Sweden, a defined benefit pension obligation impacted by market rates, continued loan volume growth and the uncertainty regarding the bank’s work on anti-money laundering,” it said in a statement.

The lender has lost a third of its market value this year and has come under probe in the United States, Baltics and Sweden after being accused of failing to prevent suspicious funds from flowing through its Estonian operations. (Reporting by Esha Vaish and Niklas Pollard in Stockholm)

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