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Bank of Ireland plans to raise dividend

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Bank of Ireland plans to raise dividend

Bank of Ireland Group Plc laid out plans to increase its dividend payouts at its annual shareholder meeting, where it also faced criticism over its branch closure and staff reduction policy, the Irish Independent reported.

The bank said it would increase dividends to 50% of "sustainable" profits over time.

During the meeting, some investors called out the bank for shutting down branches to cut costs. However, the Irish lender said it remained committed to decreasing costs and reducing bad loans, after it sold €375 million in buy-to-let mortgages in April, causing its nonperforming loans ratio to fall to 5.8%.

Chairman Patrick Kennedy said the bank intends to cut the ratio to 5%, a target that has been set by European regulators, according to the report. Bank of Ireland also intends to reduce its cost-to-income ratio to 50% by 2021, compared to 65% at 2017-end.

Meanwhile, CFO Andrew Keating said the group's net interest margins, which stood at currently at the end of March due to the impact of its U.K. credit card portfolio being put up for sale, would recover over the coming couple of years, to the "2.20s."