Bank OZK (OZK) Announces 2.6% Increase in Quarterly Dividend

Bank OZK OZK has again announced a hike in its quarterly dividend. The company declared a quarterly cash dividend of 39 cents per share, marking an increase of 2.6% from the prior quarter. The dividend will be paid out on Apr 19 to shareholders on record as of Apr 12.

This represents the 55th consecutive quarter of a dividend hike by OZK.

Prior to the recent hike, OZK raised its dividend by 2.7% to 38 cents per share in January 2024. Also, the company has a five-year annualized dividend growth of 10.2%. Currently, its payout ratio is 25% of earnings. This indicates that it retains adequate earnings for reinvestment and future growth initiatives while still delivering lucrative returns to its shareholders.

Considering yesterday’s closing price of $44.88, OZK’s dividend yield is currently pegged at 3.39%, which is above the industry average of 2.88%.

Bank OZK’s track record of consistent dividend hikes has led to its inclusion in the S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats index since January 2018. The index includes the members of the S&P Composite 1500 that have maintained a managed-dividends policy of consistently increasing common stock dividends every year for at least 20 years and that meet minimum float-adjusted market capitalization and liquidity requirements.

At present, OZK doesn’t have any share repurchase program. The previous plan expired in November 2023. Under this plan (announced in November 2022), the company was authorized to buy back up to $300 million worth of shares. In 2023, the bank repurchased 4.3 million shares for $151.5 million.

Bank OZK maintains a solid liquidity position. As of Dec 31, 2023, the company had a total debt of $1.30 billion and cash and cash equivalents of $2.15 billion. Given a robust capital and liquidity position, as well as lower debt-equity and dividend payout ratios compared with peers, the company is expected to continue its capital distribution activities. Through this, Bank OZK will keep enhancing shareholder value.

Over the past six months, shares of OZK have jumped 27.3%, outperforming the industry’s rally of 17.9%.

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Bank OZK 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

HarborOne Bancorp, Inc. HONE announced a quarterly cash dividend of 8 cents per share, reflecting a 6.7% hike from the prior payout. The dividend will be paid out on Apr 24, 2024, to shareholders of record as of Apr 10.

The company has increased its dividend payout thrice in the past five years. It last increased its quarterly dividend by 7% to 7.5 cents per share in March 2023. Currently, HONE’s payout ratio is 48% of earnings.

NorthEast Community Bancorp, Inc. NECB has announced a huge increase in its quarterly cash dividend. The company has announced a dividend of 10 cents per share, representing a surge of 66.7% from the prior payout. The dividend will be paid out on May 6 to shareholders on record as of Apr 5.

Prior to this, NECB raised its quarterly cash dividend by 200% to 6 cents per share in 2021.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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