WHEELING, WV – WesBanco , Inc. (NASDAQ:), a Wheeling, West Virginia-based bank, has announced an increase in its quarterly cash dividend, marking the 17th consecutive hike. The board approved a 2.9% rise to 36 cents per share, set to be paid on January 2, 2024. This decision follows the previous increase in November 2022 and is indicative of a consistent five-year annualized growth rate of 3.45%. With a payout ratio of 49% of earnings, WesBanco’s dividend yield now stands at an attractive 5.25%.
The announcement comes as part of WesBanco’s ongoing efforts to return value to shareholders. Earlier in the year, on February 24, 2022, the company initiated a stock repurchase plan allowing for the buyback of up to 3.2 million shares. As of September 30, 2023, approximately 1.02 million shares remained available for repurchase under this plan. Financially, WesBanco has demonstrated stability with its cash levels comfortably exceeding its short-term borrowings.
Investors have responded positively to WesBanco’s financial strategies and market performance, with WSBC shares outperforming the industry over the past six months. The stock has rallied by an impressive 18.7%, surpassing the industry’s rise of 12.4%. However, it’s important to note that WesBanco currently holds a Zacks rank of #3 (Hold), suggesting that potential investors should maintain a cautious approach.
In comparison to its peers, WesBanco is not alone in increasing shareholder returns through dividends. Bank OZK (NASDAQ:) and United Bankshares (NASDAQ:) have also recently raised their quarterly dividends. Bank OZK’s latest increase brought its dividend to 37 cents per share—a 2.8% increase—paid out on October 20 to shareholders recorded as of October 30. This marked Bank OZK’s impressive streak of dividend hikes for the 53rd consecutive quarter. United Bankshares under CEO Richard M. Adams Jr., celebrated its milestone of 50 years of consecutive quarterly dividend increases by raising its payout to 37 cents per share, also due on January 2, 2024.
WesBanco’s commitment to steady dividend growth and shareholder value is evident in these strategic financial decisions, positioning it as a noteworthy player among regional banks when it comes to consistent returns for its investors.
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