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Chemung Financial (CHMG) Rewards Investors With New Buyback Plan

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Chemung Financial Corporation (CHMG - Free Report) has announced a new share repurchase plan. Under this program, the board of directors of this Elmira, NY-based bank authorized buyback of up to 250,000 shares or 5% of its outstanding shares.

Notably, Chemung Financial will not start repurchasing shares “until after the release of the Corporation’s year-end earnings.” The company is yet to announce earnings release date.

This new repurchase plan replaces the previous authorization to buy back up to 250,000 shares, which was completed on Oct 30, 2020. Chemung Financial had announced this program in March 2020, under which shares were repurchased at an average cost of $29.40 per share.

Prior to this, in 2012, Chemung Financial’s board of directors had approved a plan authorizing repurchase of up to 125,000 shares, with no expiration date.

In addition to share repurchases, Chemung Financial pays regular quarterly dividends. The last quarterly dividend of 26 cents per share was paid out on Jan 4 to shareholders on record as of Dec 21, 2020. The company had last hiked the dividend in 2013 by 4%. Considering the last day’s closing price of $33.73 per share, the dividend yield currently stands at 3.08%. This looks impressive compared with the industry average of 2.10%.

Chemung Financial had a solid balance sheet and liquidity position. The company’s debt/equity ratio of 0.02 is significantly below the industry average of 0.22. This reflects that it has a lesser debt burden compared with peers and that it will be financially stable even in adverse economic conditions.

These apart, earnings strength indicates that Chemung Financial’s capital deployments seem sustainable and will continue to enhance shareholder value. However, low interest rates and tough operating backdrop are likely to keep hurting its financials in the near term.

Shares of Chemung Financial have rallied 36.7% over the past six months, underperforming the industry’s growth of 60.9%.

Currently, Chemung Financial carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Other Banks That Took Similar Action

Over the past month, several banks have announced new share repurchase program. Some of these are Banner Corporation (BANR - Free Report) , Independent Bank Corporation (IBCP - Free Report) and First Financial Bancorp (FFBC - Free Report) .

Banner Corporation’s board of directors authorized the repurchase of up to 1.75 million shares. Independent Bank announced a new share repurchase plan, under which it is authorized to repurchase up to 1.1 million shares. Further, First Financial announced a share repurchase plan, under which the board of directors approved buyback of up to 5 million shares.

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