Today we'll take a closer look at BankFinancial Corporation (NASDAQ:BFIN) from a dividend investor's perspective. Owning a strong business and reinvesting the dividends is widely seen as an attractive way of growing your wealth. On the other hand, investors have been known to buy a stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.
With BankFinancial yielding 3.1% and having paid a dividend for over 10 years, many investors likely find the company quite interesting. It would not be a surprise to discover that many investors buy it for the dividends. The company also returned around 14% of its market capitalisation to shareholders in the form of stock buybacks over the past year. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we'll go through this below.
Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. BankFinancial paid out 41% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. This is a medium payout level that leaves enough capital in the business to fund opportunities that might arise, while also rewarding shareholders. Plus, there is room to increase the payout ratio over time.
Consider getting our latest analysis on BankFinancial's financial position here.
One of the major risks of relying on dividend income, is the potential for a company to struggle financially and cut its dividend. Not only is your income cut, but the value of your investment declines as well - nasty. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of BankFinancial's dividend payments. This dividend has been unstable, which we define as having fallen by at least 20% one or more times over this time. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.28 in 2010, compared to US$0.40 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 3.6% per year over this time. The dividends haven't grown at precisely 3.6% every year, but this is a useful way to average out the historical rate of growth.
We're glad to see the dividend has risen, but with a limited rate of growth and fluctuations in the payments, we don't think this is an attractive combination.
Dividend Growth Potential
Given that the dividend has been cut in the past, we need to check if earnings are growing and if that might lead to stronger dividends in the future. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it's great to see BankFinancial has grown its earnings per share at 43% per annum over the past five years. Earnings per share have rocketed in recent times, and we like that the company is retaining more than half of its earnings to reinvest. However, always remember that very few companies can grow at double digit rates forever.
To summarise, shareholders should always check that BankFinancial's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Firstly, we like that BankFinancial has a low and conservative payout ratio. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, but it was concerning to see the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. BankFinancial has a credible record on several fronts, but falls slightly short of our standards for a dividend stock.
You can also discover whether shareholders are aligned with insider interests by checking our visualisation of insider shareholdings and trades in BankFinancial stock.
We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 3%.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.
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