|5.40% Dividend makes USB hard to pass up in fluctuating markets|
U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) is the nation's 6th largest bank. The bank offers loans, credit, and insurance products to consumers primarily in the Midwestern and Western United States. USB competes against large banks such as Bank of America (BAC), as well as regional banks such as Regions Financial Corporation (RF).
U.S. Bancorp, like other U.S. banks, has been hurt by the 2008 Financial Crisis. In 2008, USB held $2.64 Billion in non-performing ("toxic") assets, which caused the bank to increase its loan loss provision to $3.1 Billion. This caused USB's net income to decline over 31% from 2007 to 2008. Unlike its competitors, USB did profit in Q4 08, however. The bank made $264 million in the quarter. Comparatively, Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC), and Regions Financial Corporation (RF) lost $1.8 Billion, $2.7 Billion and $5.6 Billion, respectively. USB was given $6.6 Billion in TARP funds to improve its financial health. To pay back the TARP funds immediately, the bank cut its dividends for the first time in 75 years. In addition, volatile interest rates are inversely proportional to USB profitability. Rising interest rates cause decreased demand from consumers, as they cannot afford to take out a loan, and makes consumers more likely to default. Thus, if interest rates increase, USB net income decreases. The Federal Funds Rate and Prime Rate have decreased in the past year, which caused USB net interest income to increase over 15%.(Read more at Wikinvest )