I love to kick off the new trading week by taking a quick peek at companies that have just raised their dividends. It's not just about the money: A company that is easing up on its pocketbook probably has improving fundamentals to back up that generosity. Readers of the Income Investor newsletter service can certainly appreciate that kind of thinking.

Let's take a closer look at four of the companies that inched their payouts higher recently.

Let's start with National City (NYSE:NCC). The Cleveland-based bank network with branches in eight states gave its quarterly dividend a 5% boost to $0.41 a share. National City became an Income Investor recommendation three years ago.

National City shares were stung during the subprime-lending meltdown, but the company is doing its best to upgrade the credit quality of its accounts. Shareholders who see the company through the tricky transformation now stand to collect a beefy 4.9% yield.

Then we have Village Super Market (NASDAQ:VLGEA). The operator of 23 ShopRite grocery stores just couldn't stay away from this column. I mentioned it a quarter ago, after it propped up its adjusted dividend after a 2-for-1 stock split. Well, the supermarket chain is at it again. There's no split this time, but the quarterly disbursements are once more inching higher. Thanks to a 17% boost, investors will now be getting $0.21 per share every three months.

Another repeat performer is Atlantic Coast Federal (NASDAQ:ACFC). The financial-services provider behind the Atlantic Coast Bank chain upped the ante on its quarterly dividend by a penny, to $0.14 a share. That may not sound impressive, but the company has increased its payout now in nine consecutive quarters. 

And finally, there's MFA Mortgage Investments (NYSE:MFA). Sidestepping the brunt of the subprime-lending fiasco by investing in higher-quality mortgage-backed assets, MFA kicked in a 13% uptick in its quarterly disbursements to $0.09 a share.

Subscribers to the Income Investor newsletter can appreciate the companies sending more and more money to their investors. The service singles out companies that are committed to growing their distributions with market-thumping results.

Want to see what's being recommended these days? Go ahead and give the service a shot with a 30-day trial subscription. Who knows? Maybe the next thing that will get hiked will be your interest.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz pays attention to yield signs. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.