In my opinion, National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) could be the smartest choice out of the big four ASX banks.
I think that NAB can tick the boxes of what some investors might be looking for.
Plenty of investors may look at big four bank shares for their dividend yields, so let’s start there.
The broker Citi thinks that NAB is going to pay an annual dividend of $1.50 per share in FY22 and $1.75 per share in FY23. At the current NAB share price, that translates into grossed-up dividend yields of 6.8% in FY22 and almost 8% in FY23.
While the above yields may not be the highest in the sector – for example, Citi thinks ANZ will pay higher dividend yields – it is still predicted to be a large dividend yield.
Dividends (and the dividend yield) alone aren’t likely to be enough to sway an investor into buying shares in a particular bank. There is normally more to an investment than just dividends.
Dividend growth can also be an important factor.
In the recent FY22 half-year result, NAB grew its interim dividend by 21.7% year on year to 73 cents per share. However, ANZ only grew its interim dividend by 2.9% to 72 cents per share and Westpac’s interim dividend was increased by 5.2%.
If NAB’s dividend keeps growing faster than ANZ and Westpac, its dividend yield could become the largest (at the current share prices).
Leadership and growth
Since the appointment of NAB CEO Ross McEwan in 2019, NAB has improved its performance. McEwan has more than 30 years of experience in the finance, insurance, and investment industries.
NAB notes that McEwan also has extensive experience in leading organisations through significant change and recovery. Before joining NAB, McEwan was Group CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland from 2013 to 2019 where he led a turnaround of the bank after the GFC.
NAB is generating profit growth. In HY22, cash earnings rose by 4.1% year on year to $3.48 billion. Westpac’s HY22 cash earnings were down 12% year on year to $3.1 billion.
ANZ’s cash earnings increased by 4% year on year to $3.1 billion. However, compared to the second half of FY21, ANZ’s cash profit declined 3%. NAB’s HY22 cash profit rose 8.2% compared to the second half of FY21.
NAB share price valuation
For me, NAB has a good dividend yield. The dividend is projected to keep rising at a good pace, while ANZ and Westpac dividends are growing more slowly.
CBA is often seen as the highest-quality bank. But I think that NAB’s valuation makes it a more attractive choice.
Using Citi’s estimates, the NAB share price is valued at 15 times FY22’s estimated earnings and 13 times FY23’s estimated earnings.
Compare that to the valuation on the CBA share price – it’s priced at 20 times FY22’s estimated earnings and 18 times FY23’s estimated earnings.
For growth and quality reasons, I think NAB is a better pick than ANZ and Westpac. It also seems much better value to me than buying CBA shares.
It’s worth keeping in mind too that the rising interest rate environment can help grow the profit of banks.