May 4 (Reuters) - Westpac Banking Corp on Monday deferred a decision on its interim dividend and posted an 70% drop in first-half cash earnings, hit by steep costs over a money laundering scandal and a surge in charges for bad loans due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Australia’s second-largest lender’s cash earnings fell to A$993 million ($635.62 million) for the six months ended March 31, against A$3.30 billion it earned last year. This missed an average estimate from six analysts that pegged the figure at A$1.22 billion.
Westpac also postponed a decision regarding its interim dividend payout, adding that no dividend would be paid in June 2020. ($1 = 1.5623 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; editing by Diane Craft)