Monday's Headlines: Banks Are Happy, Their Investors Are Happy

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By most accounts, banks are looking good these days. JPMorgan leads the pack in dividend payouts and share buybacks, both of which the Fed approved, a signal that the industry has turned a corner after the 2008-2009 bailout crisis. "In 2010 the banking system turned a profit, emboldening regulators to permit banks to return money to shareholders through dividends and buybacks," according to Reuters

This could mean an additional $22 billion annually for investors , even as three of the 19 largest banks and a total of nearly 600 institutions have yet to repay $30 billion of the U.S. bailout aid they accepted took at the height of the crisis.

Other Headlines

AIG said first-quarter catastrophes including the earthquake in Japan will cost the company $1 billion. [BusinessWeek]

Buffett says South Korea a 'hunting ground' for acquisitions. [Bloomberg]

Credit Suisse is expected to beat its 2012 target for its wealth business in Asia after an encouraging 1Q. [BusinessWeek]

An SEC rule on global median employee pay could embarrass companies. [Bloomberg]

Nasdaq bid for NYSE could die on antitrust issue. [WSJ]

Charles Schwab will buy equities and options futures trading firm OptionsXpress Holdings. [WSJ]