Westpac suspends first half year dividend as earnings plunge 70%

Westpac suspends its dividend for the first half of the year as the bank’s earnings plunge by 70 per cent

Australia’s second biggest bank Westpac has suspended it first-half year dividend as coronavirus caused its cash earnings to plunge 70 per cent.

It told the Australian Securities Exchange on Monday shareholders would be missing out on an interim dividend in June 2020.

‘This was a difficult decision given many retail shareholders rely on Westpac dividends,’ it said in a statement.

Westpac’s cash earnings in the six months to March 31 plunged by 70 per cent, compared with the same period a year earlier, to $993million.

Its statutory net profit plummeted by 62 per cent in the half-year to $1.19billion.

Australia's second biggest bank Westpac has suspended it first-half year dividend as coronavirus caused its cash earnings to plunge 70 per cent

Australia’s second biggest bank Westpac has suspended it first-half year dividend as coronavirus caused its cash earnings to plunge 70 per cent

The bank is allowing 105,000 home borrowers to suspend their mortgage repayments as a result of COVID-19, with these loans collectively worth $39billion.

During this time, 31,000 business borrowers are also getting the option of deferring their loan repayments for up to six months, with these mortgages worth $8.2billion. 

For ordinary retail customers, Westpac has doubled the tap-and-go payment limit from $100 to $200 and increased the value of a cheque that can be deposited from a mobile banking app from $1,000 to $20,000. 

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