Investors hoped that the largest banks in the United States would substantially increase dividend payments in 2015; however, recent events including the reduced oil prices would make it even harder for them to pay out higher dividends.
Regulators said major banks are holding more capital, which they will need until 2018. Last week, banks have begun reporting their fourth-quarter earnings. On Wednesday, Wells Fargo & Co as well as JPMorgan Chase & Co has reported their quarterly earnings, and investors learned that these big banks have been over-capitalized within the last 3 months.
There are still high hopes that these capitals will find their way towards shareholders as they seem to be unfulfilled. There is an increase in expected loan losses, specifically within the energy sector, while trading markets have become more volatile, making bank assets riskiest. Meanwhile, regulators are not willing to commend high rises in dividends or even share buybacks as assets are riskier.
The banks’ difficulty in increasing dividends or buying back share would end up as headaches for investors. The financial crisis since 2008 was a result of the banks’ bond underwriting and bad lending practices, including their entry into huge legal settlements. Since then, they struggled to enhance their revenue. Also, depressed earnings were also caused by low interest rates.
Higher dividend payments are supposed to improve the stock valuations within the sector. The large banks are awaiting approval from the Federal Reserve on their dividend plans for 2015, while results are expected in March.
Shareholders of the Citigroup Inc. could be the most disappointed with the lowest dividends, but the company refused to comment.