Banks’ Billion-Dollar Rewards for Passing Their Exams

Successfully clearing their latest Fed stress tests will free them to resume huge stock buybacks.

By Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jason Karaian, Sarah Kessler, Stephen Gandel, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni

Banks capitalize on their healthy pandemic

Nearly two dozen of the nation’s largest lenders, including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, yesterday passed the Fed’s annual test of whether they could survive a severe economic downturn. Last year, during the height of the pandemic, Wall Street’s six largest banks earned a collective $81 billion. They can clearly survive, and thrive, through some pretty significant stress. That is good news — but the risk is that it leads to lenders and policymakers letting their guards down as conditions improve.

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