Industries Banking/Finance

SNL finds more banks and thrifts increasing dividends

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The number of banks and thrifts initiating or increasing dividends last year grew nearly 58 percent over 2010, according to data release Wednesday by Charlottesville-based SNL Financial.

SNL reported that 123 U.S. banks and thrifts increased or initiated dividends in 2011, compared to 78 institutions in 2010 and 39 in 2009.

The company also said dividend decreases and suspension also fell sharply in 2011 compared to 2010 and 2009.

Thirty-nine dividend initiations and increases occurred in the fourth quarter.  PacWest Bancorp had the largest increase, according to SNL, increasing its quarterly cash dividend from 1 cent to 18 cents per common share in November.

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