Citigroup (NYSE: C) on Thursday became the latest of the Big Four banks to declare a dividend. The company's upcoming quarterly payout will be $0.51 per share, to be dispensed on Aug. 28 to investors of record as of Aug. 3.
That amount matches each of the previous four payouts. Since May 2015, Citigroup had been raising its dividend once every year. However, in the Federal Reserve's 2020 round of bank stress tests, the regulator set limits for third quarter disbursements from large lenders. These are not allowed to exceed the previous quarter's dividend, plus they can't top the the issuer's net profit averaged over the four preceding quarters.
Although Citigroup did well in passing its stress test, it is currently operating under the same strained circumstances as all American lenders. Like its peers, it has dramatically increased its loan-loss provisioning over the past two quarters, in anticipation of a sharp rise in lender defaults. It almost goes without saying that this is due to the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.
In spite of such challenges, in its second quarter reported on July 14, Citigroup posted a 5% year-over-year increase in revenue, and managed to stay in the black on the bottom line despite a 73% erosion in net profit. It also managed quite encouraging growth in deposits, which grew by 18%.
At Citigroup's most recent closing stock price, its dividend yields 3.9%. The company's shares generally fell in sync with the broader stock market on Friday, slipping by 0.8% on the day.
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