Bank Of The Ozarks: A Dividend Champion That's Raised Its Dividend 11 Consecutive Quarters

| About: Bank of (OZRK)
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Some companies increase their dividend every year. Some companies hike their dividend twice in a year. Ever so rarely, you get a raise three times. And then there is Bank of the Ozarks (NASDAQ:OZRK), the regional banking powerhouse with offices in Arkansas, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and North and South Carolina. It's raised its dividend 13 out of the last 14 quarters, including the last 11 consecutive quarters. This month, it upped its dividend a healthy 13%.

Bank of the Ozarks is already a "dividend champion," having boosted its dividend every single year since its 1997 IPO. Yet, that title doesn't do the bank justice. None of the other dividend contenders -- or champions or aristocrats, for that matter -- have raised their dividend 11 quarters in a row. Perhaps a new category should be created just for this bank: "Quarterly Dividend King."

Even with 11 straight quarterly dividend increases, the bank has a low 23% payout ratio, leaving plenty of room for further dividend hikes. Moreover, Bank of the Ozarks has raised its dividend by more than 450% over the last 10 years. Remarkably, the dividend yield is only 1.68% as the stock has climbed almost 425% over the last decade.

Bank of the Ozarks Has Other Eye-Popping Stats

Unlike most banks, Bank of the Ozarks is increasing loan production. Last quarter, the bank lent out over five times as much money in new loans as the year-ago quarter. Bank of the Ozarks plans on increasing its new loans this year by a third.

  • The average bank has a net charge-off ratio of 0.97%. Bank of the Ozarks has an enviable 0.19%.
  • While the average bank has a net interest margin of 3.32%, Bank of the Ozarks has a 5.83% one.
  • While many banks are closing branches, this bank has acquired nine different banks since 2008 -- including seven from the FDIC at no cost other than managing their loans and deposits.

Two years ago, I suggested swapping Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) for Bank of the Ozarks. The recommendation still stands. By the way, here's how the two stocks have fared:

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Disclosure: I am long OZRK. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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