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Here's How We Evaluate The Community Financial Corporation's (NASDAQ:TCFC) Dividend

Simply Wall St

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Could The Community Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:TCFC) 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. Unfortunately, it's common for investors to be enticed in by the seemingly attractive yield, and lose money when the company has to cut its dividend payments.

Investors might not know much about Community Financial's dividend prospects, even though it has been paying dividends for the last nine years and offers a 1.6% yield. A 1.6% yield is not inspiring, but the longer payment history has some appeal. Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying Community Financial for its dividend - read on to learn more.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

NasdaqCM:TCFC Historical Dividend Yield, June 5th 2019

Payout ratios

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. As a result, we should always investigate whether a company can afford its dividend, measured as a percentage of a company's net income after tax. Looking at the data, we can see that 18% of Community Financial's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. We like this low payout ratio, because it implies the dividend is well covered and leaves ample opportunity for reinvestment.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Community Financial's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

Dividend Volatility

Before buying a stock for its income, we want to see if the dividends have been stable in the past, and if the company has a track record of maintaining its dividend. The first recorded dividend for Community Financial, in the last decade, was nine years ago. 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 nine-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.40 in 2010, compared to US$0.50 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 2.5% a year over that time.

Modest dividend growth is good to see, especially with the payments being relatively stable. However, the payment history is relatively short and we wouldn't want to rely on this dividend too much.

Dividend Growth Potential

The other half of the dividend investing equation is evaluating whether earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Growing EPS can help maintain or increase the purchasing power of the dividend over the long run. Earnings have grown at around 5.7% a year for the past five years, which is better than seeing them shrink! With a decent amount of growth and a low payout ratio, we think this bodes well for Community Financial's prospects of growing its dividend payments in the future.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Community Financial's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. We're glad to see Community Financial has a low payout ratio, as this suggests earnings are being reinvested in the business. Unfortunately, earnings growth has also been mediocre, and we think it has not been paying dividends long enough to demonstrate resilience across economic cycles. Community Financial might not be a bad business, but it doesn't show all of the characteristics we look for in a dividend stock.

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 Community Financial for free with public analyst estimates for the company.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 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.