Guess which ASX 200 bank has been revealed as the world’s longest dividend-paying share

At the current share price, the bank pays a trailing dividend yield of 5.7%, fully franked.

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Key points

  • ASX 200 dividend shares getting more attention as capital growth likely to slow 
  • Westpac reportedly hasn’t missed a dividend payment since its establishment in 1817 
  • In the 1820s, the bank paid out its dividends in Spanish dollars 

S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) dividend shares have been spotlighted in 2022. This comes as investor interest in income stocks is growing amid the current outlook for lower capital growth in the mid-term.

While many ASX 200 shares pay out some of their profits in dividends, one of the big four banks has been highlighted as likely being the world’s longest dividend-paying stock.

Any guesses?

ASX 200 dividend share notches up 205 years of seamless payments

If you guessed Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) give yourself a gold star.

As reported by Livewire, Campbell Dawson, co-founder of Elstree Investment Management, said that according to his research, Westpac “may just be the longest dividend-paying company in the world”.

Dawson said that the ASX 200 share hasn’t missed a dividend payment since its establishment in 1817.

According to Dawson:

Not during the 1890s banking crisis when half the banking system shut its doors, not during the subsequent 1890s depression, nor during WW1 & WW2, nor during the Great Depression and not even when the bank was arguably insolvent during the aftermath of the 1990s recession.

If you were a shareholder back in the mid-1820s, you would have received your dividend payout in Spanish dollars.

Dawson noted a big lift-off in dividend payments from the ASX 200 banks in the 1980s.

“Even though banking hasn’t changed, the dynamics have,” he said. “Dividends were pretty much flat or down for a century before exploding in the 1980s. Obviously, the 80s saw the ‘four-opoly’ finally being able to (ab)use their market power and profits, and dividends took off.“

As for the outlook for future income payments from the big four ASX 200 dividend shares, Dawson said:

We think that ingrained survival instinct will mean that they will continue to run conservative institutions, and even if the big four do get into trouble, we think that dividends continue while the banks re-establish themselves.

Westpac share price snapshot

The Westpac share price is down 1% in 2022, outperforming the 8% loss posted by the benchmark index.

At the current price, the ASX 200 dividend share pays a trailing yield of 5.7%, fully franked.

Motley Fool contributor Bernd Struben has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Westpac Banking Corporation. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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