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Fermer les vannes du versement de dividendes

NEW YORK – Le niveau élevé des coûts que supportent les banques européennes en matière de litiges et de restructurations engendre d'importantes pertes au sein de leur comptabilité, et les conduit à de très faibles performances boursières. À l'heure où le secteur bancaire et les régulateurs européens réfléchissent à l'élaboration de solutions face à cet état de fait défavorable, il serait judicieux de leur part de considérer la distribution des bénéfices des banques – qui inclut primes d'employés et dividendes d'actionnaires – comme une partie intégrante du problème.

Cette distribution des bénéfices constitue l'une des principales raisons des pénuries de capitaux dont souffrent les banques européennes. Pour comprendre pourquoi, replaçons-nous dans le contexte du mois d'octobre 2014, époque à laquelle l'Autorité bancaire européenne commence à procéder à des tests de solidité du bilan des 123 plus grandes banques de la zone euro, et décèle pour l’ensemble de ces banques une insuffisance de capitaux à hauteur de 25 milliards €.

À l'époque, l'ABE impose aux banques de concevoir des plans leur permettant de remédier à leur pénurie respective en l'espace de 6 à 9 mois. Certaines banques vont effectivement prendre des mesures, et parvenir à lever des capitaux au travers d'émissions de droits de souscription, parfois avec l'aide généreuse des gouvernements. Mais la plupart des banques vont se contenter d'amadouer les régulateurs en se débarrassant simplement de leurs actifs les plus risqués afin d'améliorer leur ratio de capital.

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