The Case For Amalgamated Bank (NASDAQ:AMAL): Could It Be A Nice Addition To Your Dividend Portfolio?

Dividend paying stocks like Amalgamated Bank (NASDAQ:AMAL) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason – some research suggests a significant amount of all stock market returns come from reinvested dividends. Yet sometimes, investors buy a stock for its dividend and lose money because the share price falls by more than they earned in dividend payments.

Amalgamated Bank has only been paying a dividend for a year or so, so investors might be curious about its 1.2% yield. When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.

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NasdaqGM:AMAL Historical Dividend Yield, December 14th 2019
NasdaqGM:AMAL Historical Dividend Yield, December 14th 2019

Payout ratios

Dividends are usually paid out of company earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, then the dividend might become unsustainable – hardly an ideal situation. As a result, we should always investigate whether a company can afford its dividend, measured as a percentage of a company’s net income after tax. Amalgamated Bank paid out 7.5% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. We’d say its dividends are thoroughly covered by earnings.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Amalgamated Bank’s latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

Dividend Volatility

Before buying a stock for its income, we want to see if the dividends have been stable in the past, and if the company has a track record of maintaining its dividend. With a payment history of less than 2 years, we think it’s a bit too soon to think about living on the income from its dividend. Its most recent annual dividend was US$0.24 per share.

We like that the dividend hasn’t been shrinking. However we’re conscious that the company hasn’t got an overly long track record of dividend payments yet, which makes us wary of relying on its dividend income.

Dividend Growth Potential

The other half of the dividend investing equation is evaluating whether earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Over the long term, dividends need to grow at or above the rate of inflation, in order to maintain the recipient’s purchasing power. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it’s great to see Amalgamated Bank has grown its earnings per share at 34% per annum over the past five years. Earnings per share have grown rapidly, and the company is retaining a majority of its earnings. We think this is ideal from an investment perspective, if the company is able to reinvest these earnings effectively.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Amalgamated Bank’s dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. We’re glad to see Amalgamated Bank has a low payout ratio, as this suggests earnings are being reinvested in the business. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the company has not been paying dividends as long as we’d like. Amalgamated Bank has a number of positive attributes, but falls short of our ideal dividend company. It may be worth a look at the right price, though.

Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 4 analysts we track are forecasting for Amalgamated Bank for free with public analyst estimates for the company.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 3%.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.