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Bank of England says top banks should not pay bonuses

A street sweeper cleans outside the Bank of England as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, London, Britain, March 31, 2020. REUTERS/John Sibley

LONDON (Reuters) - The Bank of England welcomed moves by Britain’s biggest banks to suspend dividends and said it also expects them not to pay cash bonuses to senior staff during the coronavirus epidemic.

The BoE’s Prudential Regulation Authority said banks entered the pandemic, which has put Britain into lockdown, with strong capital positions, enough to withstand a severe UK and global recession.

The PRA said the banks would suspend dividends and buybacks until the end of this year and cancel payments of any outstanding 2019 dividends in response to a request from the PRA.

“The PRA also expects banks not to pay any cash bonuses to senior staff, including all material risk takers, and is confident that bank boards are already considering and will take any appropriate further actions with regard to the accrual, payment and vesting of variable remuneration over coming months,” the PRA said in a statement.

Reporting by Huw Jones, Editing by Iain Withers