Should You Buy Opus Bank (NASDAQ:OPB) For Its Dividend?

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Could Opus Bank (NASDAQ:OPB) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. Unfortunately, it’s common for investors to be enticed in by the seemingly attractive yield, and lose money when the company has to cut its dividend payments.

With a 2.1% yield and a four-year payment history, investors probably think Opus Bank looks like a reliable dividend stock. While the yield may not look too great, the relatively long payment history is interesting. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying Opus Bank for its dividend, and we’ll go through these below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Opus Bank!

NasdaqGS:OPB Historical Dividend Yield, May 30th 2019
NasdaqGS:OPB Historical Dividend Yield, May 30th 2019

Payout ratios

Companies (usually) pay dividends out of their earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, the dividend might have to be cut. So we need to be form a view on if a company’s dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. Looking at the data, we can see that 57% of Opus Bank’s profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. A payout ratio above 50% generally implies a business is reaching maturity, although it is still possible to reinvest in the business or increase the dividend over time.

Consider getting our latest analysis on Opus Bank’s financial position here.

Dividend Volatility

From the perspective of an income investor who wants to earn dividends for many years, there is not much point buying a stock if its dividend is regularly cut or is not reliable. Looking at the data, we can see that Opus Bank has been paying a dividend for the past four years. It has only been paying dividends for a few short years, and the dividend has already been cut at least once. This is one income stream we’re not ready to live on. During the past four-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.20 in 2015, compared to US$0.44 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 22% a year over that time. The dividends haven’t grown at precisely 22% every year, but this is a useful way to average out the historical rate of growth.

So, its dividends have grown at a rapid rate over this time, but payments have been cut in the past. The stock may still be worth considering as part of a diversified dividend portfolio.

Dividend Growth Potential

Given that the dividend has been cut in the past, we need to check if earnings are growing and if that might lead to stronger dividends in the future. Over the past five years, it looks as though Opus Bank’s EPS have declined at around 31% a year. If earnings continue to decline, the dividend may come under pressure. Every investor should make an assessment of whether the company is taking steps to stabilise the situation.

Conclusion

When we look at a dividend stock, we need to form a judgement on whether the dividend will grow, if the company is able to maintain it in a wide range of economic circumstances, and if the dividend payout is sustainable. Opus Bank’s payout ratio is within normal bounds. Earnings per share are down, and Opus Bank’s dividend has been cut at least once in the past, which is disappointing. To conclude, we’ve spotted a couple of potential concerns with Opus Bank that may make it less than ideal candidate for dividend investors.

Given that earnings are not growing, the dividend does not look nearly so attractive. Businesses can change though, and we think it would make sense to see what analysts are forecasting for the company.

Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 3%.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.