The Federal Reserve has given the green light to all 34 of the biggest banks in the U.S. to raise their dividends and buy back shares, judging their financial foundations sturdy enough to withstand a major economic downturn.
It was the first time in seven years of annual “stress tests” that every bank assessed by the Fed won approval for its capital plans. All have at least $50 billion in assets.
The Fed on Wednesday announced the results of the second round of its annual stress tests. Those allowed to raise dividends or repurchase shares include the four biggest U.S. banks — JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo.
Capital One’s plan only got conditional approval and it has six months to revise it. But the bank was still allowed to return profits to shareholders.
After the results were made public, a number of banks quickly jumped in with announcements of dividend boosts and share buyback plans. They included Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan and American Express. Capital One, because of its conditional status, opted to keep its dividend at the current level but is planning a share repurchase.