Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC is looking to resume dividend distributions, a decade after being banned from doing so, on a scale that could match that of British peer Lloyds Banking Group PLC, The Times reported May 21, citing a senior source close to RBS.
Lloyds, which restarted dividend payouts in 2014, has committed to return at least half of its earnings to shareholders. Some are hoping that RBS, which has been barred from paying dividends since it was bailed out by the British government for £45.5 billion in 2008, would be able to make a similar commitment alongside its financial results for the first half, for a possible final dividend payout for 2018.
Earlier in May, RBS reached an agreement in principle with the U.S. Justice Department to pay a civil penalty of $4.9 billion to settle its investigation into the lender's alleged misselling of U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities between 2005 and 2007.
When finalized, the agreement could pave the way for the bank's resumption of dividend payments, which would require Prudential Regulation Authority approval, and for the U.K. government's plan to restart selling off its 71% stake in the lender.