Coronavirus forces Fed to extend ban on bank stock buybacks, dividends

The coronavirus means big banks will need to keep a bigger cash cushion

Big banks such as JPMorgan and Wells Fargo will have their hands tied for the rest of the year when it comes to buybacks and dividend hikes as the coronavirus remains a headwind for the economy.

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TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
JPMJP MORGAN CHASE & CO.101.24-2.57-2.48%
WFCWELLS FARGO & COMPANY22.70-0.58-2.49%
XLFFINANCIAL SELECT SECTOR SPDR ETF24.71-0.55-2.16%

The Federal Reserve is extending its ban on both citing the pandemic, policymakers disclosed late Wednesday.

FED TO KEEP RATES NEAR ZERO THROUGH 2023 TO ASSIST ECONOMY

In recent months, Chairman Jay Powell has spoken frequently about the uncertainty COVID-19 has placed on the U.S. economy and the need for further stimulus.

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The move will ensure large banks, those with $100 billion or more in total assets, retain enough capital as the economy struggles to recover and unemployment remains high.

COVID-19 CRUSHES BANK M&A

The Fed's decision comes as lawmakers on Capitol Hill have not been able to come to a deal on new stimulus even after multiple Fed officials have repeatedly called for more assistance for the economy-- and as layoffs could intensify with airlines ready to cut workers starting Thursday.

MNUCHIN-PELOSI KEEP STIMULUS TALKS ALIVE BUT NO DEAL YET

Later this year, the Board will conduct a second stress test to further evaluate the resiliency of financial institutions with the results released by the end of the year.

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