Republic Bancorp (RBCAA) of Louisville, Ky., and FedFirst Financial Corp. (FFCO) of Monessen, Pa., are planning to return more of their capital to shareholders as the fiscal cliff looms.

Republic, the $3.4 billion-asset parent company of Republic Bank, said Wednesday it will pay a special one-time dividend this year of $1.10 a share to owners of its Class A shares and a one-time dividend of $1 a share to owners of its Class B shares, besides instituting a regular dividend next year of 16.5 cents a share for its Class A shares and 15 cents a share for its Class B shares.

Also on Wednesday, FedFirst, the $326 million-asset parent company of First Federal Savings Bank, said it will pay owners of its common shares a special one-time dividend of 25 cents a share and repurchase 10% of its outstanding common stock.

Both Republic and FedFirst said concerns the tax rate on dividends will rise next year unless lawmakers reach a fiscal deal spurred their decisions to declare the one-time payments in 2012. The companies join other cash-rich banks that have declared special dividends ahead of the possible increase.

"Given our strong capital levels and the possible significant increases in tax rates for 2013 as we approach the U.S. Government's 'fiscal cliff,' it is an opportune time to provide this special dividend distribution to our shareholders," Steve Trager, Republic's chief executive, said in a news release.

Republic said it expects to pay the special dividend on Dec. 21 to shareholders of record on Nov. 30. FedFirst said it expects to pay the special dividend on Dec. 7 to shareholders of record on Nov. 26.

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