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Bank holding firms' 2021 dividends expected to hit new high on bumper profits

A citizen passes by a row of ATM machines in Seoul. (Yonhap)
A citizen passes by a row of ATM machines in Seoul. (Yonhap)
Dividends by South Korea's four major financial holding firms are expected to hit an all-time high in 2021 as they have decided to return more of their bumper profits to shareholders, sources said Monday.

The combined dividend payout of the four is likely to reach around 3.83 trillion won ($3.23 billion) this year, according to the sources and an estimate by Yonhap Infomax, the financial news arm of Yonhap News Agency.

It would represent the largest-ever dividend payout by the four holding companies -- KB Financial Group Inc., Shinhan Financial Group Co., Hana Financial Group Inc. and Woori Financial Group Inc.

It is also sharply up from their dividend payout of 2.29 trillion won in 2020 and 2.87 trillion won in 2019, when their dividend payout ratio, or the percentage of dividends to earnings, was the highest at 26.2 percent.

The estimate is based on a market consensus that their consolidated net income is projected to total 14.6 trillion won this year, up 35 percent from a year earlier.

The expected jump in their dividend payouts comes as the four major players have recently decided to raise their dividend payout ratios to the 2019 level of around 26 percent.

The financial holding firms' dividend payout ratio fell to 21 percent last year from 26.1 percent a year earlier as financial authorities advised them to curb dividend payments.

But the financial regulator lifted the policy recommendation in June this year amid a recovery in their financial health and the country's economy. (Yonhap)

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