Wintrust Financial Corporation
) recently announced a 122% increase in its annual dividend rate.
The announcement came a couple of days after the release of its
fourth quarter 2013 results on Jan 21. The sharp hike in the
dividend rate had little impact on the company's share price.
The increase has brought the annualized dividend rate to 40 cents
from the earlier rate of 18 cents per share. Wintrust Financial
adopted a quarterly dividend payment mode instead of semi-annual
payments made earlier. The quarterly dividend rate of 10 cents
will be paid on Feb 20, 2014 to shareholders of record as of Feb
The hike signals the company's strong cash position which can
only warrant shareholder rewards through dividend hikes.
A brief snapshot of Wintrust Financial's recently reported fourth
quarter 2013 results is provided below.
Wintrust Financial reported earnings per share of 70 cents in the
fourth quarter, up from 61 cents recorded in the year-ago quarter
and in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The top-line
performance was however weak. Total revenue was down 5% year over
year to $1.9 billion. A 7% rise in net interest income was more
than offset by a 29% fall in non-interest income.
Provision for credit losses in the quarter was down 81% from the
prior-year quarter to $3.9 million. Net charge-offs, as a
percentage of loans, excluding covered loans, stood at 0.44% on
an annualized basis, down 39 basis points year over year. Net
loans increased 7% year over year to $13.1 billion. Further,
total deposits rose 2% year over year to $14.7 billion.
In the last 7 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for Wintrust
Financial increased by 0.3% to $2.87 for 2014 and remained stable
at $3.15 for 2015. These estimates reflect year-over-year growth
of 4.4% for 2014 and 9.7% for 2015.
Wintrust Financial provides banking and related services in the
Chicago metropolitan area and in southeastern Wisconsin. The
company currently has $2.1 billion market capitalization and
holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
Other Midwest banks worth considering include
First Interstate Bancsystem Inc.
First Financial Bancorp
Independent Bank Corporation
). While First Interstate Bancsystem holds a Zacks Rank #1
(Strong Buy), both First Financial Bancorp and Independent Bank
carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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