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Is Citigroup About to Increase Its Dividend by 400%?

By John Maxfield – Feb 23, 2014 at 11:04AM

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With a slew of dividend announcements right around the corner, analysts have begun to speculate that Citigroup could hike its quarterly payout by as much as 400%. Is this accurate? Motley Fool contributor John Maxfield doesn't think so.

A new research report published by Markit Group predicts that Citigroup (C -0.55%) will increase its dividend by as much as 400% after the results of this year's Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review are released in March.

The firm's conclusion is based on an analysis of 23 of the 30 banks that must undergo the CCAR process. According to the report's authors:

The most aggressive moves are expected from Citigroup and Bank of America. They are the last of the major banks paying minimal dividends, and change is overdue. In previous years, the Fed approved share repurchases for both firms. However, both have exhibited improving earnings and capital ratios over 2013 thanks to diversified business lines, strong balance sheets, expense management, and improving credit metrics. Both are on target to meet or exceed minimum Basel III capital requirements.

Given how inaccurate predictions like these tend to be, what's the likelihood that Markit is right this year? Not very, says Motley Fool contributor John Maxfield. Among other things, Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat has been clear that the New York-based bank still has a deep-seated bias toward share buybacks as opposed to dividends.

To learn more about this, check out the following video, in which John marshals additional evidence to show that Citigroup will probably wait at least one more year before raising its still-nominal payout.

John Maxfield owns shares of Bank of America. The Motley Fool recommends Bank of America and owns shares of Bank of America and Citigroup. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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