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ESSA Bancorp (ESSA) Announces Dividend Hike, Buyback Plan

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ESSA Bancorp, Inc. (ESSA - Free Report) has rewarded shareholders with a dividend hike and a new share repurchase program. The company announced a 25% hike in its quarterly dividend to 15 cents per share. The dividend will be paid out on Jun 30 to shareholders of record on Jun 16.

ESSA Bancorp has been regularly increasing dividend payouts. Prior to this, the company had raised its dividend by 9.1% to 12 cents per share in February 2021. We believe that such disbursements highlight the company’s operational strength and commitment to enhancing shareholder wealth.

Considering the last day’s closing price of $16.20, ESSA Bancorp’s dividend yield currently stands at 3.70%. The yield is also significantly impressive compared with the industry average of 2.27%. Not only is the yield attractive for income investors, but also it represents a steady income stream.

Apart from the dividend hike, ESSA announced share repurchase authorization for up to 0.5 million shares.

ESSA Bancorp boasts an impressive balance sheet. As of Mar 31, 2022, it had total cash and cash equivalents of $190.2 million and no debt. The company’s strong liquidity position and low-cost capital structure indicate that it will be able to continue with efficient capital deployment activities, thereby enhancing its shareholder value.

Over the past year, shares of ESSA have lost 1.3% compared with a 15.4% decline of the industry it belongs to.

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ESSA Bancorp currently 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 Taking Similar Steps

Over the past few months, several finance stocks have rewarded their shareholders with dividend hikes. Some of these are Bank OZK (OZK - Free Report) and Essent Group Ltd. (ESNT - Free Report) .

Bank OZK declared a cash dividend of 31 cents per share, marking a 3.3% increase from the prior payout. The dividend was paid out on Apr 22 to shareholders of record on Apr 15.

This represents the 47th consecutive quarter of dividend hike by Bank OZK. Prior to this, OZK hiked its dividend by 3.4% to 30 cents per share this January.

Essent Group announced that its board of directors sequentially hiked the quarterly cash dividend by 5% to 21 cents per common share. The dividend will be paid out on Jun 10 to shareholders of record as of Jun 1, 2022.

Prior to this, ESNT hiked its dividend by 5.2% to 20 cents per share this February.

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