Yellen Supports Stock Repurchases for Banks as Economic Conditions Improve

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen today said that banks “should have some ability . . . to make returns to shareholders” through stock buybacks, which had been suspended earlier in the pandemic. Yellen said that she had “been opposed earlier when we were very concerned about the situation that banks would face,” but that “financial institutions look healthier now” and should be able to proceed with such repurchases.

The Federal Reserve board in December voted to limit large banks’ dividends and share repurchases in the first quarter to an amount based on their income over the past year. Firms without income are not able to pay a dividend or conduct buybacks.