Week 6, 2020 – First Week of February

Like Week 32 last year, all stocks this week belong to regional banks. For whatever reason, their ex-div dates seem to cluster together. Most regional banks tend to hit the sweet spot of conservative banking practices along with a nice dividend for shareholders. They also mostly kept themselves out of the financial problems that beset the large international banks from 2007-2010.

Lakeland Bancorp (LBAI) is the choice for Monday, Feb 3. Headquartered in New Jersey, Lakeland has 50 branches and $6.3 billion in assets. 2019 was not only their 50th anniversary, but also a year of record earnings. In fact, the last eight years have seen record earnings! The current yield is a hair under 3%.

Next up is Columbia Banking Systems (COLB) – a stock we’re very familiar with. We traded this with success in all four quarters last year. They have 150 branches in Oregon, Washington and Idaho along with $14 billion in assets. Columbia recently increased their dividend making it nine straight years of payout increases. The current yield is 2.8%.

For Wednesday the choice is Northwest Bancshares (NWBI). We traded this in Week 18 with a 2% return and Week 31 with a 1.6% return. They operate 172 banks in Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio with over $10 billion in assets. The numbers look fine and they recently increased their dividend by over 5%. The current yield is 4.4%.

BCB Bancorp (BCBP) gets the Thursday slot. We traded this in Week 6 and Week 19 last year with returns of 2.7% and 1.3% respectively. The second time around took a couple weeks, but the numbers still look good. The current yield is just above 4%.

Finally, we’ll go with German American Bancorp (GABC). Headquartered in Indiana, they’ve been around since 1920 and have over $4 billion in assets. They just posted their tenth straight year of record earnings and raised their dividend by 12%. The current yield is 2.2%.