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On Mar 25, 2013, Washington Federal, Inc. (WAFD - Analyst Report) announced a 12.5% hike in its quarterly cash dividend to 9 cents per share. The new dividend will be paid on Apr 19, 2013 to stockholders of record as of Apr 5, 2013.

This represents Washington Federal’s 121st successive quarterly cash dividend.  Prior to this, Washington Federal had increased its quarterly cash dividend in Dec 2011.  At that time, the dividend was raised by 33% to 8 cents per share.  Previous to this, Washington Federal had hiked its quarterly cash dividend by 20% to 6 cents per share in Dec 2010.

Furthermore, Washington Federal has been quite active in boosting shareholder wealth through share repurchases from time to time.  During the quarter ended Dec 31, 2012, Washington Federal repurchased 2,696,014 shares at an average price of $16.60 per share. The company still has authorization to repurchase upto an additional 3,492,016 shares.  

This reflects Washington Federal’s ability to consistently deploy capital to enhance shareholder value.  Further, these activities reflect the company’s solid capital and financial position, which will auger well in the backdrop of a sluggish economic growth.

Similar to Washington Federal, other firms that have recently hiked dividend include Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB - Analyst Report), Wells Fargo & Company (WFC - Analyst Report) and State Street Corporation (STT - Analyst Report). Fifth Third hiked its dividend by 10% to 11 cents per share following the approval of its capital plan under the 2013 CCAR (Comprehensive Capital Analysis & Review) by the Federal Reserve.

Alongside, Wells Fargo increased its quarterly common stock dividend by 14% to 25 cents per share. On the other hand, State Street hiked its quarterly cash dividend by 8.3% to 26 cents per share following the company’s clearance of the Federal Reserve’s stress test.

Washington Federal currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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