Bank of America beats expectations despite taking a sharp blow to profits and revenues

Hayley Kirton
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The pesky "all other" category proved the undoing for Bank of America's profit growth (Source: Getty)

Bank of America beat analysts' expectations today, despite reporting a drastic drop in both profits and revenues.

The figures

The bank reported revenue net of interest expense of $20.4bn (£15.4bn) for its second quarter of 2016, down from $22bn in the same period the year before. Revenue on a fully taxable-equivalent basis, meanwhile, came in at $20.6bn.

Net income dwindled to $4.2bn, down from $5.1bn the year before.

However, with diluted earnings per share of $0.36, the bank beat a poll of analysts by Thomson Reuters, which pegged their predictions at $0.33.

Why it's interesting

US banking earnings season is now in full swing. While a cocktail of low interest rates and Brexit vote uncertainty made the second quarter of 2016 a tricky one for many businesses, the lenders across the Atlantic are consistently performing better than expected.

Bank of America's key service lines – consumer banking, global wealth and investment management, global banking and global markets – all reported year-on-year growth in net income.

Only the elusively named "all other" category reported a fall in net income, swinging from a $781m profit in quarter two of 2015 to a $815m loss in the most recent quarter. The bank blamed the reversal of fortunes partly on lower gains on consumer property loans and higher litigation costs.

What Bank of America said

"We had another solid quarter in a challenging environment," said Brian Moynihan, Bank of America's chief executive. "Our responsible growth strategy led to improved customer and client activity, and each of our four business segments reported higher earnings than the year-ago quarter.

"We also moved closer to our longer-term performance targets. We continued to invest in core growth areas and to manage expenses, which were down three percent year over year to a level not seen since 2008."

Paul Donofrio, finance chief, added: "We increased adjusted net interest income year over year in a difficult rate environment by growing deposits and loans within our risk and customer frameworks. That, coupled with a relentless focus on costs, drove improved operating leverage across all four of our business segments."

In short

It may not look great on paper but it's better than what was hoped for.

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