By Associated Press - Wednesday, April 22, 2020

HONOLULU (AP) - Bank of Hawaii Corp. has announced it set aside $33.6 million to cover potential loan losses tied to the coronavirus pandemic.

The state’s second-largest bank also suspended stock buybacks beginning in mid-March, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.

Bank of Hawaii reported its net income fell 40.9% in the first quarter after it set aside the $33.6 million for loan losses.

Bank of Hawaii’s move mirrored actions announced last week by the nation’s largest banks, which collectively set aside billions of dollars for potential loan defaults and suspended stock buybacks as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

Bank of Hawaii has temporarily closed 37 of its 68 branches in Hawaii and the West Pacific.

The bank posted net income of $34.7 million, or 87 cents per share, compared with $58.8 million, or $1.43 per share, in the year-earlier period.

The bank said it processed more than 2,100 Paycheck Protection Program loans in excess of $525 million to small businesses and electronically distributed 65,000 recovery payments of $112 million.

The bank said it also made 5,200 modifications to its commercial and consumer loans, representing 9.8% of its outstanding loans.

Bank of Hawaii declared a quarterly dividend of 67 cents per share payable June 12.

Companies in some other industries have suspended or reduced dividends, but U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said earlier this month he does not think it is necessary at this point for banks to change dividends.

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