The Reuters "article" is not very clear. Read the PRNewswire release. The .32 is an increase over the .29 paid in the '03 first quarter, as plainly stated in BBT's press release. The Reuters "article" states this is the 32nd consecutive "time" BBT has increased its quarterly div, which is ridiculous. The actual press release says it's the 32nd "year" of increased divs. Hard to believe that Reuters is that bad.
The dividend % increases are always a comparison to the same quarter, prior year. The double digit annual increases per share beat the hell out of inflation and have been going on for a number of years.
Logically, you can't increase div. too much when all of the profit is being paid to upper echelon officers. All American corporations pay their top execs way too much. It is at the expense of the share holders. Completely unfair.