But what the banks really want to see is a parallel rise in interest rates, which will require the Fed to raise the short-term federal funds rate, which has been locked in a target range of zero to 0.25% since late 2008. The federal open market committee his said repeatedly that it expects this "highly accomodative" policy to remain in place at least until the U.S. unemployment rate drops below 6.5%. The unemployment rate improved to 7.0% in December from 7.3% in November.
The following chart shows the performance of Regions Financial's stock over the past 12 months against the KBW Bank Index and the S&P 500:
RF data by YCharts
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