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Double-dipping at Northwest

Shareholders of Northwest Savings Bank get to double-dip on their dividend in May, as the Pennsylvania-based savings bank's board of directors approved not just one but two cash dividends of 12 cents each.

The board said it declared the second, special dividend because it has too much cash on hand that it can't put to use in the current climate. It also recognizes that shareholders are being squeezed in their own finances as low interest rates hamper their investment yields. And the bank already paid its first-quarter dividend early, in December, so shareholders could avoid higher taxes on it resulting from the fiscal cliff crisis.

It was the kind of good news shareholders needed, too, since earnings were basically flat for the first quarter compared to a year ago. The biggest notable item: the heavy snow in the bank's territory this winter meant it had to pay for a lot more snowplowing, which drove its expenses up.

- Jonathan D. Epstein

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