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Standard Chartered Delays Dividend Payments, Blames ‘Shameful’ Regs

Due to regulatory uncertainty, Standard Chartered will not restart dividend payments. The U.K. bank made the announcement this week while reporting on its half-year finances.

According to India-based Standard Chartered, the bank saw an 82 percent increase in H1 profits, but it wasn’t enough to encourage the bank to begin paying its investors.

“Unfortunately the capital certainly has not improved,” said Bill Winters, chief executive at Standard Chartered, according to news reports in the Financial Times. “Regulators have been quite slow and it is bordering on shameful, to be quite honest. They sent out consultation papers two years ago, and there has been no update since then.”

Reports said the executive is referring to an ongoing review by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, and Winters added the decision to not restart dividend payments is “the cautious thing to do.”

Standard Chartered shares dropped 5 percent following the Wednesday (August 2) release of financial results. Market research provider Jefferies’ analyst Joseph Dickerson told the publication the company suspects “investors will be disappointed with a lack of quarter-on-quarter loan growth and lukewarm commentary on capital return.”

The bank posted a 5 percent increase in its loan book, reports said, mostly driven by corporate finance, trade finance and mortgages. Revenues climbed 3 percent to $7.2 billion, though operating expenses also increased by 7 percent to $4.9 billion. Despite a share drop, Standard Chartered’s report was aligned with previous analysts’ estimates.

Earlier this year Standard Chartered launched a banking API portal in an effort to spur financial services innovation among developers. Its Open Banking API Developer Portal will allow developers to use the bank’s existing technologies — including transaction banking and cash management — to create their own solutions.

The FI also bridged its Chinese corporate clients with WeChat, enabling corporate treasurers to handle money transfers, while H1 also saw the first pilot testing of the bank’s blockchain-powered trade finance solution.

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