Back in April and May, investors saw juicy yields on regional bank stocks, some paying twice the rate on the 10-year Treasury note but wondered how safe they were if earnings fell out of bed — or how low the stocks might trade. After all, PacWest Bancorp in May slashed its quarterly payout to a nominal penny a share , down from 25 cents. Since then, banks have paid up. Western Alliance Bancorporation of Phoenix left its dividend unchanged at 36 cents a share in May and yields 3%. Truist Financial Corp. of Charlotte, North Carolina, in late April kept its dividend unchanged at 52 cents a share, and today still yields a whopping 6.3%. This Wednesday, Rhode Island’s Citizens Financial left its dividend unchanged at 42 cents a share, equal to a 5.4% yield, still above a two-year Treasury. Similar-sounding commitments from other super regional banks on their recent second-quarter earnings calls reassured investors who may have doubted banks were able and willing to pay what are, in some cases, still sky-high dividends in the wake of the failures of Silicon Valley Bank and First Republic Bank earlier this year. Take Cleveland-based KeyCorp , for example. As of Friday, the bank’s common stock still yields 7.1%, albeit down from 8.5% as recently as May. Comerica Bank in Dallas pays a dividend equivalent to a 5.5% yield, down from 7.9% in May. The banks’ yields have fallen as the stocks have recovered some of their losses from earlier in the year. The S & P 1500 Composite Regional Bank Index, for example, has rallied 10.3% in the past month, according to FactSet, and 6.6% in the past three months, but remains 22% lower so far in 2023. As a group, the 93 banks in the index yield 3.6%, not far from the 10-year Treasury note yield of 3.83% as of Friday. The two-year Treasury note yields about 4.85%. To judge the safety of bank dividends, take a look at their dividend payout ratios , which measure the percentage of earnings paid out in dividends. As weak as bank profits are expected to be this year and the next, Truist’s dividend payout ratio is only estimated to rise to 51.4% in 2023 and 54% in 2024, according to Janney Montgomery Scott. At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the ratio got as high as 58.4%. In a report this week, Janney analyst Daniel Cardenas warned investors, “While current expectations do call for challenging conditions in 2H23 and 2024, we think investors should remain focused on companies with proven track records of performing well during tough times and that offer an attractive yield with a manageable payout ratio.” Janney recommended Los Angeles-based Hanmi Financial , yielding 5.8% with an estimated 2024 payout ratio of 30.7%; San Jose, California-based Heritage Commerce , 5.6% and 47.9%; Northrim BanCorp in Alaska, 5.0% and 49.9%; Premier Financial of Ohio, 6.7% and 55.1%; and Valley National Bancorp of New Jersey, 4.7% and 35.2%. — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed reporting.