For the second quarter in a row, New Residential Investment (NYSE:NRZ) is lifting its most important shareholder payout. The mortgage real estate investment trust (mREIT) announced after market close Wednesday that it has declared a fresh set of quarterly dividends. The company’s common stock distribution is being raised by 50% to $0.15 per share. This will be paid on Oct. 30 to investors of record as of Oct. 5.
That dividend has been quite the roller-coaster of late. The previous raise was 100%, as the company doubled it from $0.05 to $0.10. But the former amount was cut drastically from the preceding $0.50 per share, which New Residential had kept steady since mid-2017.
Nevertheless, the REIT put a very bullish spin on the latest hike. It quoted its CEO Michael Nierenberg as saying that it “reflects our confidence in the potential earnings power of our Company and our commitment to driving shareholder value.”
2020 has not been an easy year for New Residential. Along with its peers, it was hit hard by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, which sapped confidence in the securities held by mREITs due largely to fears of widespread borrower defaults.
Compounding this, New Residential specialized in non-qualified mortgages, i.e., home loans that don’t qualify for government insurance. This segment is particularly vulnerable to a sharp downturn.
So the company is attempting to change its business model by abandoning non-qualified mortgages and moving into the more comforting government-backed segment. New Residential’s two-dividend raises in a row and those optimistic pronouncements from management are likely part of an effort to convince investors that it’s on a new path to success.
At the current share price, the new dividend would yield 7.9%.