People's United Financial, Inc. Sees Gain in Income, Misses Expectations, Raises Dividend

People's United Financial (NASDAQ: PBCT  ) reported today that its net income stood at $53 million, or $0.18 per share, in the first quarter of this year, up from $52.5 million and $0.16 per share in the first quarter of 2013. Analysts were anticipating earnings of $0.21 per share. 

"Our performance this quarter reflects the ongoing benefits from strategic investments in our businesses, products and services," noted the president and CEO of People's United Financial, Jack Barnes, in the announcement. "In particular, our recent additions in commercial banking in Boston and wealth management in Connecticut reflect our commitment to strengthen our products and talent."

Despite its net interest income after the provision for credit losses rising by 5% to $217.6 million, in total operating earnings at People's United Financial fell slightly, from $57.9 million to $56.5 million. This was the result of its non-interest income falling by $5 million, from $84.9 million to $79.9 million. In addition its expenses rose from $212 million to $216.7 million.

The bank did highlight it continued to see improvements in asset quality, as its net charge-off ratio was cut in half, from 0.24% to 0.12%. In addition the operating return on tangible stockholders' equity rose substantially, from 8.1% in the first quarter of 2013 to 9.3% in the most recent quarter. However its return on average assets did fall from 0.77% to 0.69%.

In addition, the firm announced for the 22nd consecutive year it would be increasing its dividend. Its board of directors approved the increase from $0.16 per share to $0.165 per share. At yesterday's closing price that yields 4.4%. Barnes noted the reason behind the increased dividend was "Our strong business fundamentals, ongoing ability to leverage our brand in attractive markets, and prospects for growth continue to be the foundations of our strength relative to others in the industry." 

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