Capital One Financial ( COF) on late Thursday said it would increase its dividend by almost 35 cents and had initiated a $2 billion share buyback program. The consumer finance company said it would on Feb. 20 pay 37.5 cents a share to all shareholders of record on Feb. 11. That's up from 2.7 cents a share currently. Capital One also said its board approved a $2 billion share repurchase program to begin in the second half of the year. The company's decision to boost its dividend comes as many financial companies are doing just the opposite, including banks hit hard by the mortgage and credit market meltdowns like Citigroup ( C) and Washington Mutual ( WM). Capital One reported a
slimmer profit last week, but touted its "strong balance sheet" in an accompanying press release.