The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Treasury Department have told banks not to increase dividend payments or buy back their shares pending a clearing of political and economic uncertainty, the Financial Times reported on its Web site, citing people close to the situation.

The report also cited a letter sent by government officials in December reminding banks that they would have to pass stress tests of their balance sheets and achieve profitability before returning funds to shareholders. The New York Fed and Treasury declined comment.

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