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Polish watchdog could let some banks pay higher dividends

WARSAW, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Poland's financial regulator KNF may allow some of the best capitalised banks to hand back their entire 2013 profits to their shareholders after capping dividend payouts since 2009.

Hoping to prevent significant capital outflow that could weaken banks in times of an economic slowdown, KNF had prevented banks from paying more than three-quarters of their profits as dividends.

A KNF spokesman said it was considering keeping the limit for most lenders next year, but could consider allowing 100-percent payouts for banks with the best capital positions.

KNF's strict rules, which also kept a lid on excessive borrowing, have been credited with helping Polish lenders avoid the pitfalls that dragged down other European lenders since the global economic crisis in 2008.

Analysts said the two banks that are the most likely to pay higher dividends are UniCredit's Pekao and Citigroup's Bank Handlowy.