In 2011, the S&P 500 offered a dividend yield of 2.1%. Taking into consideration only the five banks that have confirmed higher dividend policies so far, the yield on the S&P 500 would increase by about 60 basis points to 2.7%. Given that it is highly likely we'll get more dividend increases from the banks as we proceed through the year, coupled with increases from other companies with improving operations and cash flow, the yield on the S&P 500 could reach close to 3% this year. In addition to the banks, Apple ( AAPL) today announced a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share. That means the dividend yield on the S&P 500 would have been 3.5% last year. -- Written by Lindsey Bell in New York. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to Lindsey Bell.