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April 5, 2012

Bair urges Fed to get tough on big banks

Former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp Chairman Sheila Bair is leading an effort to convince the Federal Reserve to get tougher on the largest U.S. banks.

Bair and three academics are urging the Fed to impose more stringent capital standards on financial giants and criticizing the U.S. central bank’s recent decision to allow big banks, such as JPMorgan Chase, to boost stock dividends rather than use these funds to fortify their balance sheets.

“We feel compelled to express our grave concerns about the premature capital distributions which the (Fed) approved as a result of stress tests it completed this year and in 2011,” they wrote in a March 30 letter to the Fed. “Dividends and buybacks inevitably slow the pace at which these large banks build their capital buffers.”

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