Wells Fargo and Bank of America’s CEOs are so eager to free themselves from their short regulatory leash and raise some gosh darn dividends already. Wells CEO John Stumpf made the sentiment abundantly clear. From The Wall Street Journal‘s report on today’s Goldman Sachs U.S. Financial Services Conference in New York:
“It’s high time that we provide a return on your investment,” he said. “I am in violent agreement that it is time we get back to a quote unquote more normal basis.”
BofA head Brian Moynihan said his bank would raise its dividend “as soon as we can.” Bank of America pays a one-penny-a-share quarterly dividend, and Wells Fargo pays a nickel a quarter. In heady 2007, Wells’ dividend was 31 cents a share.
Despite their enthusiasm, the CEOS are going to have to wait, as regulators continue to drag their feet when it comes to letting banks play freely with their capital. The Federal Reserve is putting systemically important institutions through another round of stress tests before investor payouts are made available. But shareholders should take note: the banks care about you.
mtaylor [at] observer.com | @mbrookstaylor
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