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Why Western New England Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:WNEB) Should Be In Your Dividend Portfolio

Simply Wall St

Could Western New England Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:WNEB) 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. If you are hoping to live on the income from dividends, it's important to be a lot more stringent with your investments than the average punter.

A slim 2.1% yield is hard to get excited about, but the long payment history is respectable. At the right price, or with strong growth opportunities, Western New England Bancorp could have potential. The company also bought back stock equivalent to around 13% of market capitalisation this year. Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying Western New England Bancorp for its dividend - read on to learn more.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

NasdaqGS:WNEB Historical Dividend Yield, November 1st 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 37% of Western New England Bancorp's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. 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.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Western New England Bancorp's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

Dividend Volatility

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 Western New England Bancorp's dividend payments. The dividend has been cut by more than 20% on at least one occasion historically. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.60 in 2009, compared to US$0.20 last year. This works out to a decline of approximately 67% over that time.

When a company's per-share dividend falls we question if this reflects poorly on either external business conditions, or the company's capital allocation decisions. Either way, we find it hard to get excited about a company with a declining dividend.

Dividend Growth Potential

With a relatively unstable dividend, and a poor history of shrinking dividends, it's even more important to see if EPS are growing. Earnings have grown at around 8.8% a year for the past five years, which is better than seeing them shrink! Earnings per share have been growing at a credible rate. What's more, the payout ratio is reasonable and provides some protection to the dividend, or even the potential to increase it.

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. Firstly, we like that Western New England Bancorp 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. Western New England Bancorp has a number of positive attributes, but falls short of our ideal dividend company. It may be worth a look at the right price, though.

Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 4 Western New England Bancorp analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on 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.