Northwest Bancshares (NASDAQ:NWBI) announced today that it will be paying a special dividend of $0.12 per share in May to supplement the regular dividend for the first quarter of 2013, which it prepaid back in December in a bid to accelerate the distribution of cash to help shareholders offset some of the risk of higher taxes.

Northwest will also be paying a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.12 on May 16.

Northwest Chairman William J. Wagner said, "The board of directors of Northwest Bancshares recognizes the amount of excess capital our company is carrying and our limited ability to leverage this capital given current market and regulatory challenges. They also considered the fact that persistently low interest rates have significantly diminished our shareholders' investment yields and cash flow. Given these considerations, our board felt that it made sense to return some of our excess capital to our shareholders at this time."

The special dividend is not expected to affect the payment of the regular quarterly dividends in 2013, which are scheduled to be paid in May, August, and November. It will be paid on May 16 to shareholders of record as of May 2 and will be in addition to the regular dividend that will be paid on the same day.

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