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National Australia Bank to launch $1.9 bln share buyback

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July 30 (Reuters) - National Australia Bank Ltd will return as much as A$2.50 billion ($1.85 billion) to shareholders by buying back its stock in August, the country's third-largest lender said on Friday.

Australia's "big four" banks are expected to return as much as A$26 billion in cash over the next two years, as the country's pandemic management ensured lenders were largely unscathed and reported stellar earnings in the March quarter.

The buyback will reduce NAB's common equity tier 1 (CET1) ratio at level 2 by around 60 basis points, the company said.

NAB also said it would continue to assess options to return capital to investors as it hopes to bring its CET1 ratio, a key measure of spare cash, within a 10.75% to 11.25% range from more than 12% at March-end.

Rival Australia and New Zealand Banking Group earlier this month said it would return up to A$1.5 billion to its shareholders. ($1 = 1.3514 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi; Editing by Devika Syamnath)