Banks need buffers, shareholders must decide on Swedbank -minister

STOCKHOLM Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:55am EST

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STOCKHOLM Jan 30 (Reuters) - Swedish Financial Markets Minister Peter Norman said banks should continue to build up capital buffers in case of another downturn but expressed no criticism of Swedbank for its decision to raise its payout to shareholders.

"It is important that banks build capital," he told reporters. "They must have good buffers because the financial crisis could blow up again."

He said Swedbank had good buffers and that it ought to retain its strong level of capital. Asked about Swedbank's higher dividend payout policy, as announced earlier on Wednesday, Norman said it was up to shareholders to decide.

Finance Minister Anders Borg has in the past criticised banks for planning payouts to shareholders rather than retaining capital. (Reporting by Mia Shanley and Johan Sennero, editing by Patrick Lannin)

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