Risk Management

BofA’s Earnings Hit Post-Crisis High

Net income rose 9%, to $3.34 billion.
Katie Kuehner-HebertJanuary 19, 2016

Bank of America’s net income for 2015 more than tripled, to $15.9 billion – its highest earnings in nearly a decade.

Year-end results reflect “the work we’ve done to develop a straightforward operating model focused on responsible growth and doing more business with each customer and client,” chief executive Brian Moynihan said in a press release. “We saw solid customer activity in loan growth, deposits, and wealth management asset flows, and we returned more capital to our shareholders. As we build on this progress, we will continue to invest in the future and manage expenses.”

For the fourth quarter, net income rose 9%, to $3.34 billion, or 28 cents a share, due to growth in BofA’s consumer bank and trading revenue holding up despite tough market conditions. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings of 26 cents a share, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Overall profit for the consumer unit rose 9%, to $1.8 billion, and profit for the global wealth and investment management division rose 13%, to 614 million.

BofA’s global banking division, which includes its investment bank as well as its commercial lending arm, posted a 9% decline in profit, to $1.38 billion. Fourth-quarter trading revenue, excluding an accounting adjustment, rose 11% from a year ago, to $2.65 billion, but fell 16% from the third quarter.

Overall net interest income, on an adjusted basis, rose nearly 2%, to $9.8 billion. Expenses fell 2% to $13.9 billion from $14.2 billion a year ago, as the unit that services troubled mortgages continues to shrink, and as the company continued to cut jobs and branches. The number of employees fell about 5%, to 213,280 from 223,715 a year ago. The number of branches fell 3%, to 4,726 from 4,855.

Commercial loan defaults rose by $75 million, driven by losses in energy, and the bank set aside an extra $144 million mostly to prepare for potential future defaults in that portfolio.