Big Banks Struggle to Pass Fed’s ‘Stress Tests’

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By VICTORIA MCGRANE and RYAN TRACY

Four of the biggest names on Wall Street struggled to pass the Federal Reserve’s 2015 “stress tests,” and the U.S. units of two foreign banks fell short, underscoring the constraint the annual exercise imposes on the largest banks more than six years after the 2008 crisis.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley received the green light to return income to investors only after adjusting their initial requests to ensure capital buffers stayed above the minimums required by the Fed.
Bank of America Corp. got conditional approval to return capital to shareholders after the Fed found “certain weaknesses” in its ability to measure losses and revenue and in other internal controls.

The bank can temporarily reward investors by boosting dividends or share buybacks, but it must submit a revised plan addressing its shortcomings by Sept. 30. If the Fed isn’t satisfied with the bank’s progress, it can freeze the capital distributions.
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