Are CBA shares losing their passive income credentials?

CBA shares have long been favoured by passive income investors.

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Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) shares have long been a favourite among passive income investors.

That's because the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) bank has a stellar record of paying out two fully franked dividends a year. For more than 10 years now.

With the exception of the final dividend in 2020, which was cut roughly in half in the wake of the global pandemic market meltdown, the dividends delivered by CBA shares have also remained remarkably stable around the $2.00 a share range.

In 2018 for example, CBA paid an interim dividend of $2.00 a share and a final dividend of $2.31 a share. That equates to a 12-month payout of $4.31 a share.

Most recently, CBA has paid out a final dividend of $2.40 a share and an interim dividend of $2.15 a share. That equates to a 12-month payout of $4.15 a share.

Again, with the exception of the pandemic year, you'll find a similar pattern going back more than a decade.

Which goes a long way to explain CommBank's passive income appeal.

But are CBA shares losing their passive income credentials?

Tapping CBA shares for passive income

As we looked at up top, CBA's dividend payouts remain quite solid.

In fact, the final dividend of $2.40 per share, which landed in eligible shareholders' accounts on 28 September, represented a record-high payout.

But here's the thing.

While CommBank's passive income stream has remained relatively stable over the past 10 years, the CBA share price has not.

Going back to our 2018 example, the ASX 200 bank stock hit lows of less than $68 a share that year.

Investors who bought the stock at that level will have earned a fully franked dividend yield of 6.3% that year. And shares bought at that price would have returned a yield of 6.1% this year.

But with the CBA share price defying bearish forecasts and instead rocketing to new record highs this week, the passive income stream is looking far more muted.

At time of writing today, CommBank stock has retraced a touch from those record highs to be trading for $124.21 a share.

That sees the stock trading on a fully franked trailing yield of 3.3%.

Of course, it's not all bad news.

While investors may be earning a significantly lower dividend yield, they have enjoyed some market-beating share price gains.

The CBA share price has surged 30% over the past 12 months. And that's not including the $4.15 a share in dividends the ASX 200 bank stock delivered.

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 no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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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