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Meridian (MRBK) Rewards Shareholders Via Expanded Buyback Plan

The announcement of an augmented share-repurchase program reflects Meridian's (MRBK) robust balance sheet and its ability to add shareholder value.

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This story originally appeared on Zacks

Meridian Corporation MRBK announced an increase in its share repurchase authorization. The company noted that its board of directors approved a rise in the buyback amount to $20 million from $6 million. The same may be utilized for repurchasing shares over a two-year tenure. Its previous $6-million buyback plan was adopted on Apr 22, 2021. The raised amount represents an addition of nearly 490,000 shares or 8% of outstanding shares as of Jun 30, 2021.

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Prior to this raise, an amount worth $5.4 million remained available for repurchase under the April-2021 share buyback plan. This equates to nearly 185,000 shares of the company’s stock.

Meridian has also been paying a regular quarterly cash dividend of 12.5 cents per share since it commenced its quarterly dividend payment in August 2020. The latest dividend was paid out on Aug 16, 2021.

A special dividend of $1 per share is also paid out by the company occasionally, the last one was disbursed in the first quarter of 2021.

Considering the last day’s closing price, the company’s dividend yield currently stands at 1.7%.

Meridian’s improving times interest earned and the total debt-to-total capital ratio along with its earning strength indicate that its capital deployments are sustainable and will continue to enhance its shareholder value. As of Jun 30, 2021, the bank’s cash and cash equivalents stood at 26.9 million. However, its low interest rates are expected to keep hurting its financials in the near term.

The company’s return on equity of 25.72% compared with the industry average of 11.4% underlines its commendable position over its peers.

Supported by its decent earnings growth and a solid liquidity position, Meridian is expected to continue with its efficient capital deployment activities in the future.

In the past six months, shares of the company have gained 19.7% compared with 5.8% growth of its  industry.

Zacks Investment Research

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Currently, Meridian carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Other Banks That Took Similar Actions

Over the past few months, several banks have announced new share-repurchase programs, some of which are Customers Bancorp, Inc. CUBI, Cathay General Bancorp CATY and Amerant Bancorp Inc.  AMTB.

West Reading, PA-based Customers had announced a new share-repurchase plan, under which its board members authorized a buyback of up to 10% of its outstanding common stock as of Jun 30, 2021, over a one-year period.

Cathay General’s board had authorized a repurchase of shares worth up to $75 million this year.

Amerant Bancorp approved a new share-repurchase program, authorizing $40 million worth of its Class B common stock.



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