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United Community (UCBI) Rewards Investors With New Buyback Plan

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United Community Banks, Inc. (UCBI - Free Report) recently announced a new share repurchase plan. The board of directors has approved the repurchase of up to $50 million of UCBI’s outstanding shares. The plan will expire on Dec 31, 2022.

The new repurchase plan replaces the previous one, which authorized United Community Banks to buy back up to $50 million shares till Dec 31, 2021. This plan was announced in November 2020. As of Sep 30, 2021, authorization to repurchase shares worth $34.9 million remained.

Share buybacks aside, the company has been regularly paying dividends and enhancing shareholder value. In fact, United Community Banks has been hiking quarterly dividends on a regular basis. The last hike of 5.3% was announced in August 2021.

Additionally, United Community Banks has been actively pursuing growth through strategic acquisitions. Since the beginning of 2021, the company has closed two deals – Aquesta Financial Holdings, Inc. (in October) and FinTrust Capital Partners, LLC (in July).

Further, in July, UCBI inked an all-stock transaction to acquire Brentwood, TN-based Reliant Bancorp, Inc. for $517 million. The merger, expected to close in the first quarter of 2022, is projected to be accretive to the company’s earnings (excluding transaction expenses) by 6.1% in 2022 and 8.5% in 2023.

RBNC shareholders will receive 0.9842 shares of United Community Banks common stock for each share of Reliant Bancorp.

Supported by its earnings strength, United Community Banks is expected to continue with efficient capital deployment activities in the future. Through this, it will keep enhancing shareholder value. However, the low-interest rate environment is a major concern.

Over the past three months, shares of United Community Banks have rallied 19.5%, outperforming 12.5% growth of the industry it belongs to.
 

Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment Research

Currently, United Community Banks carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Other Finance Stocks That Took Similar Action

Over the past month, several finance companies have rewarded shareholders with new share-repurchase programs. A couple of these are Washington Trust Bancorp, Inc. (WASH - Free Report) and Piper Sandler Companies (PIPR - Free Report) .

Washington Trust’s board of directors has approved the repurchase of about 5% of the outstanding common stock or 850,000 shares. WASH’s new buyback plan expires on Dec 31, 2022.

As of Oct 31, 2021, Washington Trust had nearly 17.3 million shares outstanding.

Piper Sandler announced that its board of directors has authorized the share repurchase worth up to $150 million. The new plan begins on Jan 1, 2022, and will be effective till Dec 31, 2023.

Piper Sandler’s previous $150 million share buyback program expires on Dec 31, 2021. As of Oct 29, 2019, PIPR had 17.9 million shares outstanding.


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