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Fulton, Susquehanna banks accelerate dividends

By , - Last modified: December 12, 2012 at 11:07 AM

The midstate's two largest banking firms have announced they will accelerate dividend payments to help investors beat next year's expected higher taxes.

Susquehanna Bancshares Inc. said Tuesday it will pay a dividend of 7 cents per share for the first quarter of 2013 on Dec. 31.

Susquehanna is doing so “due to the potential for change in tax rates that would apply to dividends in 2013,” Chairman and CEO William Reuter said in a statement.

Based in Lititz, Susquehanna is the parent company of Susquehanna Bank.

On Monday, Fulton Financial Corp., the Lancaster-based parent of Fulton Bank and five other community banks, said it would pay a dividend of 8 cents per share on Dec. 27.

It normally pays the dividend in January, but pushed it forward due to “uncertainty around the tax treatment of dividends in 2013,” Chairman and CEO R. Scott Smith Jr. said in a statement.

Dividends are part of the ongoing “fiscal cliff” negotiations in Washington, D.C. Currently taxed at 15 percent, they will be taxed as ordinary income beginning Jan. 1 if Congress and the president do not reach a deal. If and when a deal is struck, increased rates on dividends for high-income taxpayers could be part of the package, observers say.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., which has corporate offices in York County, announced an accelerated dividend last week.


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