Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Report: On percentage basis, BofA dividend growth leads

Bank of America's dividend is a far cry from what it was before the financial crisis.

But the bank's announcement last month that it is raising the quarterly payout from a meager 1 cent to 5 cents puts it among stocks that will see the largest dividend jumps on a percentage basis this year, says Forbes, citing a report from financial information firm Markit.

The Charlotte-based bank, Starwood Hotels and construction material producer Vulcan Materials are among stocks poised to hike their dividends by 200 percent or more.

Of course, with Bank of America's dividend starting so low, it doesn't take much of an increase to equate to a large percentage growth.  

Last month, Bank of America announced plans to increase its dividend for the first time since the financial crisis. The news came after the bank won approval for the dividend increase from the Federal Reserve.

Like other major banks in the wake of the crisis, Bank of America must receive approval each year from the Fed before raising its dividend or buying back stocks. The Fed in 2011 rejected the bank’s plan for a dividend increase in the second half of that year. Until this year's request, that was the only time since the crisis that the bank asked the Fed for a dividend hike.

Even at 5 cents per quarter, Bank of America's dividend is small when compared with that of its peer banks. For example, San Francisco-based Wells Fargo said last month the Fed has OK'd its plan to raise its quarterly dividend from 30 cents a share to 35 cents.

Many longtime Bank of America shareholders remain frustrated that the bank's dividend has been so low since the crisis. As recently as 2008, the quarterly dividend was 64 cents per share.