Bank OZK OZK is moving out of Alabama. As the company wasn’t able to work efficiently with just two branches in the state, which were in separate markets, it announced the sale of the same.
Bank OZK will be selling the Mobile branch to Merchants & Marine Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pascagoula, MI-based Merchants & Marine Bancorp, Inc. The branch had nearly $26 million and $23 million worth of deposit and loan balances, respectively, as of Mar 31, 2020.
The company’s Geneva branch will be acquired by 22nd State Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of FEB Bancshares, Inc., based in South Alabama. As Mar 31, 2020, the branch had deposit and loan balances worth $66 million and $8 million, respectively.
Certain deposit liabilities and loans, as well as cash, real property, personal property and other fixed assets related to these two branches are part of the agreement.
The financial terms of the deal, expected to close in fourth-quarter 2020, are not revealed yet. Subject to regulatory approvals, the transaction is projected to result in marginal gains on sale.
Concurrently, at a time when majority of banks are maintaining/curtailing dividend payments amid coronavirus-related concerns to preserve liquidity, Bank OZK has carried out quarterly dividend hike like it does every quarter, though at a lesser rate. This marks the 40th consecutive quarter of dividend hike.
Bank OZK announced a quarterly cash dividend of 27.25 cents per share, representing a 0.9% increase from the prior payout. The dividend will be paid on Jul 20 to shareholders of record on Jul 13.
Prior to this, the bank hiked dividend by 3.8% to 27 cents per share.
Over the past few days, several banks including Bank of America BAC, Citigroup, KeyCorp KEY, Regions Financial and PNC Financial PNC have announced that they will maintain their current dividend levels for third-quarter 2020.
Considering last day’s closing price of $22.57, Bank OZK’s dividend yield currently stands at 4.83%. Not only is this yield attractive for income investors but also it represents a steady income stream.
Given a robust balance sheet position, and lower debt equity and dividend payout ratios than peers, Bank OZK is expected to sustain dividend payments.
While its business restructuring efforts are expected to keep supporting profitability, margin pressure — mainly due to the Federal Reserve’s accommodative monetary policy and near-zero interest rates — is likely to persist in the near term. Further, coronavirus-related slowdown is expected to hurt this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) bank’s profitability for a couple of quarters.
You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Shares of Bank OZK have lost 26% so far this year compared with the industry’s 34.4% decline.
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