* WASHINGTON (3/22/11)—The Federal Reserve has given the go-ahead to some of the country’s 19 largest banks to increase dividends, buy back their company’s shares or repay government aide—citing the country’s economic improvements and the banks’ marked improvement in capital standings as the reasons behind the decisions. The Fed recently released a paper that said the banks had increased common equity by more than $300 billion from the end of 2008 through the end of 2010. The Fed said in a release that both the quantity and quality of capital at many large bank holding companies, by and large, have improved since the financial crisis. In fact, the Fed noted that the 19 companies’ Tier 1 common ratio rose to 9.4% in the fourth quarter of 2010, up from a 2008 level of 5.4%. (Bloomberg March 21)… * WASHINGTON (3/22/11)--New York Banking Superintendent Richard Neiman is expected to step down in April (American Banker March 21). Neiman, who has been with the department for four years, has also served on Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program for the past two years. With the oversight panel terminating April 3, Neiman said the time was right for a transition. He has also been rumored as a candidate for the next comptroller of the currency or as a possible head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Prior to accepting his position with the New York State Banking Department, Neiman was the chairman, president and chief executive of TD Bank USA.