JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs need better plans for coping with a severe recession, the Federal Reserve said Thursday, giving the banks until September to revise them.
The announcement came as part of the Fed's so-called "stress tests," its annual check-up of 18 of the country's big banks. The government runs the tests to see how the banks would fare in a bad economic downturn. As a result of the tests, it also tells each bank whether it's allowed to raise its dividend, the quarterly payout it gives to stockholders, or buy back more of its own shares.
Overall, the Fed approved requests outright from 14 of the banks, including Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America. Senior Fed officials painted a picture of a healing industry, saying the banks had made great strides since the tests were started in 2009.
JPMorgan and Goldman, both based in New York, are allowed to increase their dividends and buy back their stock. That privilege would be withdrawn only if they didn't submit new capital plans that satisfy the Fed.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. said it had received permission to raise its quarterly dividend to 38 cents per share, from the current 30 cents, and to buy back up to $6 billion worth of its own stock. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. didn't give specifics about its plans.
Both the banks have emerged from the financial crisis not unscathed but better than many of their peers. Goldman currently pays a quarterly dividend of 50 cents per share, by far the highest of any of the six mega-banks. JPMorgan is second.