On Friday, the Federal Reserve indicated that Wall Street banks were in sound condition, thereby giving permission to banks to resume stock buybacks starting in the first quarter.
33 largest banks in the nation got a major validation from the Fed’s second round of stress tests, despite the macroeconomic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The banks that are subject to the stress tests all have at least USD 50 billion in assets. The Fed said that the tests showed that all 33 banks have capital cushion above their minimum requirements to protect against risk. Still, the regulators have maintained restrictions on dividend payouts through March. Nevertheless, buybacks of company stock will be allowed again, with some limits.
According to the Fed’s latest decision, the amount a bank will be allowed to pay shareholders or buy back in its stock will depend on the banks’ earnings over the past year. A bank earning no income during that period would not be able to payout dividends or buy back shares in the first quarter of 2021.