Bank stocks have long been a favorite among dividend investors. It's easy to see why when you consider that the average regional bank pays out more than 40% of its earnings each year to shareholders.

But not all bank stocks are created equal, insofar as income investors are concerned, with some yielding much more than others. So I ran a screen of the highest-yielding regional bank stocks on the KBW Regional Banking Index.

Here are the five that topped the list:


Dividend Yield

PacWest Bancorp (NASDAQ:PACW)


Valley National Bancorp (NASDAQ:VLY)


Umpqua Holdings (NASDAQ:UMPQ)


F.N.B. Corp. (NYSE:FNB)


United Bankshares (NASDAQ:UBSI)


Data source:

PacWest Bancorp

PacWest Bancorp is a $22 billion bank based in Beverly Hills, Calif. Founded in 1999, it operates 77 branches in California, along with one branch in North Carolina and loan production offices throughout California.

The five-year total return on PacWest's stock is 149%, exceeding its peer group average of 129%.

One downside to PacWest as a dividend stock is that it already pays out more than 70% of its earnings through dividends, limiting how quickly the bank can continue raising its dividend.

A $100 bill next to a sign that reads: "dividends."

Image source: Getty Images.

Valley National Bancorp

Valley National Bancorp is a $23 billion bank holding company headquartered in Wayne, N.J. Its principal subsidiary is Valley National Bank, which operates 209 branches in northern and central New Jersey, the New York City metropolitan area, and southeast and central Florida.

The five-year total return on Valley National's stock is 43%, which comes up meaningfully short of its peer group average of 129%.

In addition, like PacWest, Valley National already distributes a majority of its earnings each quarter to shareholders. Its payout ratio over the trailing 12 months is 68%, limiting the pace of dividend growth in the future.

Umpqua Holdings

Umpqua Holdings is a $25 billion bank based in Portland, Ore. It provides consumer and commercial banking services through 346 branches in Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, and Nevada.

The five-year total return on Umpqua's stock is 72%, which underperforms its peer group average of 129%.

Umpqua has paid out 60% of its earnings over the trailing 12 months. That's higher than its 40% peer group average and will serve to throttle the growth of its dividend, not unlike at PacWest and Valley National.

F.N.B. Corp.

F.N.B. Corp. is a $30 billion bank headquartered in Pittsburgh. It has 324 community banking offices throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, and West Virginia. It also operates 77 consumer finance offices in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

The five-year total return on F.N.B.'s stock is 59%, which is roughly half its peer group average of 129%. F.N.B.'s payout ratio is 66%.

United Bankshares

United Bankshares is a $15 billion bank headquartered in Charleston, West Virginia. It operates 128 full-service offices -- one in Ohio, four in Pennsylvania, 50 in West Virginia, and 73 throughout Virginia and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

The five-year total return on United Bankshares stock is 79%, resembling Umpqua's return and thereby coming up short of its peer group average of 129%. United Bankshares' payout ratio over the past year was 65%.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.