The past few years have been a rollercoaster ride for shareholders of Huntington Bancshares (HBAN), last week's biggest dividend increaser. Huntington was among the worst of the regional banks during the recession, the result of an incredibly poorly timed acquisition that ratcheted loan write-offs just as the bottom was falling out of the housing market. The firm slashed dividends, diluted equity and took on TARP funds just to stay afloat during 2008 and 2009.
But today's Huntington is a substantially different firm. The company was able to shore up its capital base during the recession, paying off TARP borrowings late last year, and making steps toward restoring its dividend payouts. While the firm's dividends are still short of their pre-crisis levels, so is the firm's share price. Last week's 300% dividend increase brings Huntington's yield to 2.65% and finally bodes well for shareholders.A revamped (and largely written off) balance sheet means that Huntington is once again able to report net margins that are more in line with peers. Increased lending tolerances should keep the company from repeating history. Huntington shows up on a recent list of 5 Bank Stocks Ready to Rocket.
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