Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Wells Fargo raises dividend

Wells Fargo's quarterly common stock dividend will rise by 5 cents, the company said Tuesday. But the new amount, 30 cents, remains below 34 cents, the level the dividend was at in the first quarter of 2009 before plummeting to 5 cents later that year.

On Tuesday, the San Francisco-based bank's board approved the higher dividend, the plans for which the bank received approval from the Federal Reserve in March. Also Tuesday, the bank held its annual shareholders meeting in Salt Lake City.

Wells Fargo's dividend stayed in the single digits until 2011, when it hit 12 cents. It dipped to 10 cents in 2012 but rose to 22 cents later that year and to 25 cents this year. It's still far above Bank of America's dividend of 1 cent per share.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s dividend, though, will soon surpass Wells Fargo's. JP plans to increase its dividend from 30 cents per share to 38 in the second quarter.

Wells Fargo's higher dividend is payable June 1 to stockholders of record on May 10. The company has roughly 5.3 billion outstanding shares.

During a first-quarter earnings call this month, some analysts said the bank's shareholders want to see a smaller number of outstanding shares. The bank has said that it plans to repurchase more shares this year than it did in 2012.

On the earnings call, Tim Sloan, the bank's chief financial officer, said the bank repurchased 120 million shares in 2012.