M&T Bank (NYSE:MTB) has elected to maintain its relatively generous dividend. On Tuesday the company declared that its upcoming quarterly payout will be $1.10 per share, matching the amount it has doled out in the four preceding quarters.
The dividend is to be dispensed on Dec. 31 to stockholders of record as of Dec. 1. At the most recent closing share price, it would yield 3.5%, which compared to other lenders is fairly generous.
Currently, prominent lenders such as M&T Bank are restricted by the Federal Reserve from raising their dividends past a certain level tied to profitability -- a move being made in order to defend against continued shocks to the financial system while we're inside the coronavirus pandemic.
Perhaps the company would have been willing to raise its dividend if not for the Fed's restriction. Over the years it has not been shy to lift the payout, although it hasn't been particularly consistent in this. Nevertheless, since the beginning of 2015 its quarterly dividend has risen from $0.70 to the present level.
Like many of its regional and local peer lenders, M&T Bank has taken real hits to its business since the spread of the outbreak. Borrowers, of course, are buckling under the weight of an economy burdened with restrictions, limitations, and sharp customer pull-backs. M&T Bank is not immune to these factors; it has had to grant deferrals to more than a few of its clients.
Investors didn't seem to be overly cheered that their company is keeping its payout level. M&T Bank stock closed down by 1.5% on Tuesday, a steeper fall than that endured by the S&P 500 index.