PNC Financial Services

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Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services ( PNC) is one of the biggest banks in the country, with $264 billion in assets and more than 2,500 branches spread throughout the Midwestern, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeastern U.S. PNC's size is thanks in large part to the financial crisis of 2008, when the firm was able to acquire National City at fire sale prices and instantly double its deposit base.

A conservative balance sheet is a major factor in PNC's successes in the past few years; by avoiding excessive risks, the firm was able to grow during the recession, pay off TARP early, and even hike its dividend payouts for investors. Net margins are impressive -- at more than 20% in fiscal 2011 -- and should remain high as long as PNC keeps its focus on traditional retail and commercial banking and just works at increasing its deposit scale.

Back to those dividends.

Last week, PNC management announced a 14.29% dividend increase, a move that brings its quarterly payout to 40 cents per share. The increase brings PNC's dividend yield to 2.52%. As far as banks go, you could do a lot worse than PNC. That said, I still think that there are a handful of regional banking names that look a little more attractive to income investors.

PNC, one of Tiger Management's holdings, shows up on a recent list of 5 Long-Term Bank Stock Picks From Jefferies.

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