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Cerrar el grifo de los dividendos

NUEVA YORK – Los elevados costes de los bancos por litigios y reestructuraciones han desembocado en importantes pérdidas en sus balances y un pésimo desempeño en las bolsas de valores. Mientras el sector y los reguladores europeos reflexionan sobre esta sombría situación y buscan soluciones, debieran considerar la distribución de los ingresos bancarios — incluidas las bonificaciones a los empleados y los dividendos de los accionistas— como parte del problema.

La distribución de los ingresos es una de las principales causas del déficit de capital de los bancos europeos. Para entender sus orígenes, debemos retrotraernos a octubre de 2014 cuando la Autoridad Bancaria Europea (ABE) comenzó a realizar pruebas de resistencia a los balances de los 123 mayores bancos de la zona del euro y encontró un déficit de capital de 25 000 millones de EUR (28 000 millones de USD) en su conjunto.

En ese momento, la ABE exigió a los bancos que diseñaran planes para solucionar sus respectivos déficits en un plazo de 6 a 9 meses. Algunos bancos actuaron y obtuvieron fondos para aumentar su capital a través de emisiones de acciones con derechos de preferencia, a veces con ayuda sustancial de los gobiernos. Pero la mayoría de los bancos aplacó a los reguladores simplemente liberándose de sus activos más riesgosos para mejorar sus índices de capital.

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