Three Things You Should Check Before Buying OFG Bancorp (NYSE:OFG) For Its Dividend

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 16, 2020
NYSE:OFG

Is OFG Bancorp (NYSE:OFG) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. Yet sometimes, investors buy a popular dividend stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.

A 1.7% yield is nothing to get excited about, but investors probably think the long payment history suggests OFG Bancorp has some staying power. Before you buy any stock for its dividend however, you should always remember Warren Buffett's two rules: 1) Don't lose money, and 2) Remember rule #1. We'll run through some checks below to help with this.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

historic-dividend
NYSE:OFG Historic Dividend November 16th 2020

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. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. OFG Bancorp paid out 33% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. This is a medium payout level that leaves enough capital in the business to fund opportunities that might arise, while also rewarding shareholders. One of the risks is that management reinvests the retained capital poorly instead of paying a higher dividend.

Consider getting our latest analysis on OFG Bancorp'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. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of OFG Bancorp's dividend payments. Its dividend payments have declined on at least one occasion over the past 10 years. During the past 10-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.2 in 2010, compared to US$0.3 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 5.8% per year over this time. OFG Bancorp's dividend payments have fluctuated, so it hasn't grown 5.8% every year, but the CAGR is a useful rule of thumb for approximating the historical growth.

Dividends have grown at a reasonable rate, but with at least one substantial cut in the payments, we're not certain this dividend stock would be ideal for someone intending to live on the income.

Dividend Growth Potential

With a relatively unstable dividend, it's even more important to see if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Why take the risk of a dividend getting cut, unless there's a good chance of bigger dividends in future? OFG Bancorp's EPS have fallen by approximately 12% per year during the past five years. With this kind of significant decline, we always wonder what has changed in the business. Dividends are about stability, and OFG Bancorp's earnings per share, which support the dividend, have been anything but stable.

Conclusion

Dividend investors should always want to know if a) a company's dividends are affordable, b) if there is a track record of consistent payments, and c) if the dividend is capable of growing. We're glad to see OFG Bancorp has a low payout ratio, as this suggests earnings are being reinvested in the business. Second, earnings per share have been in decline, and its dividend has been cut at least once in the past. OFG Bancorp might not be a bad business, but it doesn't show all of the characteristics we look for in a dividend stock.

It's important to note that companies having a consistent dividend policy will generate greater investor confidence than those having an erratic one. Still, investors need to consider a host of other factors, apart from dividend payments, when analysing a company. As an example, we've identified 4 warning signs for OFG Bancorp that you should be aware of before investing.

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

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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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