``Citigroup did not ask the Fed to allow it to increase its dividend from a token 1 cent per share per quarter. But permission to start buying back shares would be a much-hoped-for regulatory endorsement of the bank and its new chief executive, Michael Corbat. A year ago, Citigroup unexpectedly flunked a previous round of stress tests, dooming Citigroup's request to start returning capital to shareholders and embarrassing then-CEO Vikram Pandit. The rejection angered investors and spelled the beginning of the end for Pandit, who was abruptly ousted in October.''

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