NEW YORK Jan 4 Citigroup Inc is planning
to ask regulators for permission to buy back a "minimal" number
of shares, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
The bank is not planning to ask to increase its quarterly
dividend, which is currently a penny a share, the newspaper
reported, citing people familiar with the company's plans.
Citigroup Chairman Michael O'Neill and newly installed CEO
Michael Corbat have told company executives that the capital
plan the company submits to the Federal Reserve must be so
conservative that it will not be rejected, the Journal said.
Big banks are due to submit their capital plans to the Fed
Another bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, has reason to be
"cautiously optimistic" about its chances of winning approval to
raise its dividend and buy back more stock, an official who
asked not to be named told Reuters.
In November, JPMorgan won approval from the Fed to resume
previously approved buybacks it had suspended in May after a
multi-billion dollar loss surfaced on derivatives transactions
in its London office. JPMorgan's operations have generated more
than enough capital to cover those losses.
The Journal reported that Morgan Stanley will focus
its plan for the Fed on using its capital to complete its
purchase of Citigroup's minority stake of a joint venture the
two companies have in a wealth-management business. A spokesman
for the investment bank declined to comment.
Citigroup's last annual plan was rejected by the Fed in
March after former CEO Vikram Pandit led analysts and investors
to believe the company would be allowed to spend a few billion
dollars on share buybacks and additional dividends. The
rejection became a major embarrassment for the bank and
contributed to the board's decision to replace Pandit.