KeyCorp Announces Buyback, Bigger Dividend on the Way


The Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review results are in, and not surprisingly, KeyCorp has been given the go-ahead by the Federal Reserve to institute its share buyback program. Considering how well the bank performed on the stress tests, investors likely expected some sharing to be coming their way.

KeyCorp easily beat the Fed's minimum requirement of 5% for a stress scenario ratio that included proposed dividend and buyback actions. This means that KeyCorp will be paying a 10% larger dividend very soon:

Though the dividend is less than last year, when the bank hiked its payout from $0.12 on an annualized basis, to $0.20. KeyCorp will be embarking upon a share repurchase program, however -- and it's a much larger one than the $344 million buyback that KeyCorp instituted last year.

It's all about planning
One thing that came through loud and clear regarding CCAR is the fact that planning matters. The Fed looked most kindly on banks that had plump capital cushions post-scary scenario, as well as an airtight capital plan. For those without that dynamic duo, the result was a thumbs-down from regulators.

Just ask Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase . These big banks didn't get an outright objection from the Fed, but they were instructed to submit new capital plans by the end of October to fix weaknesses the Federal Reserve found in their original plans.

For BB&T , the news was much worse: an outright objection. Why? Detail are fuzzy, but the Fed notes that it may object to either "qualitative or quantitative concerns" it has about a bank's plan, based on specifics about that particular bank, or the general economy. For BB&T, which came through the stress tests with a 9.4% Tier 1 ratio, as well as a 7.76% final, post-severe stress grade, the issue appears to be a change the bank recently made in the way it assesses its risk-weighted assets. Since this value features prominently in the Fed's formula, BB&T failed the test.

Onward and upward for KeyCorp
KeyCorp's performance on the Federal Reserve tests, combined with the bank's outstanding loan growth, net interest margin expansion, and rise in book value have obviously made investors grin. The stock is trading near its 52-week high and will likely continue its upward trajectory. Once again, a regional bank shows that it can hold its own against the big boys.

With big finance firms still trading at deep discounts to their historic norms, investors everywhere are wondering if this is the new normal, or if finance stocks are a screaming buy today. The answer depends on the company, so to help you figure out whether BB&T should be on you radar, I invite you to read our premium research report on the company. We'll fill you in on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell BB&T, and what areas that BB&T investors need to watch going forward. Click here now for instant access!

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Fool contributor Amanda Alix has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Goldman Sachs. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase. and KeyCorp. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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