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Columbia Banking (COLB) Jumps 9.8% on Quarterly Dividend Hike

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Shares of Columbia Banking System, Inc. (COLB - Free Report) gained 9.8% on the announcement of an increase in the quarterly dividend. The company declared a cash dividend of 36 cents per share, marking a 20% hike from the prior payout. The amount will be paid out on Jun 15 to shareholders of record on May 31.

Prior to the current hike, the company increased its dividend by 7.1% to 30 cents per share in September 2021. COLB raised its quarterly dividend five times in the last five years. Also, it has a five-year annualized dividend growth of 2.9%. Currently, the company's payout ratio is 39% of earnings.

Considering the last day’s closing price of $20.25, Columbia Banking’s dividend yield currently stands at 5.93%, which is impressive compared with the industry average of 3.76%.

Clint Stein, President and CEO of COLB, said “We are pleased to announce an increase in our regular dividend, highlighting the foundational strength of our combined organization following the merger of Columbia and Umpqua. Looking forward, we expect cost and revenue synergies to enhance our operating fundamentals. Alongside the strength of our diversified balance sheet, this places us in the enviable position of having flexible capital deployment opportunities."

Notably, in February, the company completed the all-stock merger agreement with Umpqua Holdings Corporation, forming one of the largest banks headquartered in the West. The combined firm has more than $50 billion in assets, with roughly $37 billion in loans and $45 billion in deposits across an eight-state footprint.

As of Mar 31, 2023, Columbia Banking had total borrowing of $6 billion and total cash and cash equivalents of $3.63 billion. Further, investment-grade long-term credit ratings of BBB-/BBB+ from S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings, respectively, and a stable outlook render the company access to the debt market. Thus, given a robust liquidity position and decent earnings strength, the company is expected to continue with efficient capital deployment activities.

So far this year, shares of COLB have declined 32.8% compared with a 44.3% plunge of the industry it belongs to.

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Columbia Banking currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Other Banks Taking Similar Steps

In recent days, Bank OZK (OZK - Free Report) and HarborOne Bancorp, Inc. (HONE - Free Report) announced an increase in their quarterly dividend payouts.

Bank OZK declared a cash dividend of 35 cents per share, marking a 2.9% increase from the prior payout. The dividend was paid out on Apr 21 to shareholders of record on Apr 14.

This represents the 51st consecutive quarter of dividend hike by Bank OZK. Prior to this, OZK hiked its dividend by 3% to 34 cents per share in January 2023. We believe such disbursements highlight the company’s operational strength and commitment to enhancing shareholder wealth.

HarborOne Bancorp announced that its board of directors approved a regular quarterly cash dividend of 7.5 cents per share. This represents a rise of 7% from its prior payout.

The amount was paid out on Apr 26 to shareholders of record as of Apr 12. Before this, the company hiked its dividend in March 2022 by 40% to 7 cents. It must be noted that the company started paying out dividends effective July 2020. HONE has increased its dividend thrice in the last five years.

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