Bank of Ireland said today that Covid-19 is expected to have a material impact on its financial performance in 2020, adding that the pandemic is a complex and evolving situation.

In a statement, Bank of Ireland said its outlook for 2020 should no longer be considered current in these circumstances. 

It said that further details will be provided in the group's first quarter trading update, at which point more information on the economic and financial impacts should be available.

Bank of Ireland also said that due to the evolving Covid-19 pandemic and after the recommendation of the European Central Bank, the group will not be proceeding with its proposed dividend.  

On February 24, the bank had announced its intention to propose a dividend of 17.5 cent per share for 2019. 

The ECB move, announced on Friday, is aimed at boosting the capacity of banks to lend to households and businesses.

In a statement, Bank of Ireland said it will assess dividends at a future date, the earliest of which - in line with the ECB's recommendation - would be October 1. 

The bank said it has entered 2020 maintaining a strong financial position and robust capital base.

"We are committed to supporting customers through the Covid-19 pandemic and we are offering a range of supports, in a responsible, prudent and sustainable way, to both business and personal customers," the bank said. 

"We recognise the critical role we play in supporting all stakeholders including shareholders," it added.

Meanwhile, AIB, Belgian lender KBC Bank and Italy's Unicredit also said today that they were suspending dividend payments for now.