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Could Investors Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISBC) Have The Makings Of Another Dividend Aristocrat?

Simply Wall St

Could Investors Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISBC) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. 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 a seven-year payment history and a 3.8% yield, many investors probably find Investors Bancorp intriguing. We'd agree the yield does look enticing. During the year, the company also conducted a buyback equivalent to around 8.9% of its market capitalisation. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying Investors Bancorp for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Investors Bancorp!

NasdaqGS:ISBC Historical Dividend Yield, September 19th 2019

Payout ratios

Dividends are usually paid out of company earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, 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. Looking at the data, we can see that 66% of Investors Bancorp's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. This is a fairly normal payout ratio among most businesses. It allows a higher dividend to be paid to shareholders, but does limit the capital retained in the business - which could be good or bad.

Consider getting our latest analysis on Investors Bancorp's financial position here.

Dividend Volatility

From the perspective of an income investor who wants to earn dividends for many years, there is not much point buying a stock if its dividend is regularly cut or is not reliable. Looking at the data, we can see that Investors Bancorp has been paying a dividend for the past seven years. Its dividend has not fluctuated much that time, which we like, but we're conscious that the company might not yet have a track record of maintaining dividends in all economic conditions. During the past seven-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.078 in 2012, compared to US$0.44 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 28% a year over that time.

We're not overly excited about the relatively short history of dividend payments, however the dividend is growing at a nice rate and we might take a closer look.

Dividend Growth Potential

Dividend payments have been consistent over the past few years, but we should always check if earnings per share (EPS) are growing, as this will help maintain the purchasing power of the dividend. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it's great to see Investors Bancorp has grown its earnings per share at 11% per annum over the past five years. Earnings per share have been growing rapidly, but given that it is paying out more than half of its earnings as dividends, we wonder how Investors Bancorp will keep funding its growth projects in the future.

Conclusion

Dividend investors should always want to know if a) a company's dividends are affordable, b) if there is a track record of consistent payments, and c) if the dividend is capable of growing. First, we think Investors Bancorp has an acceptable payout ratio. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, although its dividend history is not as long as we'd like. In summary, we're unenthused by Investors Bancorp as a dividend stock. It's not that we think it is a bad company; it simply falls short of our criteria in some key areas.

Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 3 analysts we track are forecasting for Investors Bancorp for free with public analyst estimates for the company.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding above 3%.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.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. Thank you for reading.