Bank of America kicks off Wall Street bank results with strong performance in final quarter of 2016

Caitlin Morrison
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Bank Of America Q2 Profits Fall 41 Percent
Bank of America increased revenue and earnings in the fourth quarter of 2016 (Source: Getty)

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BoAML) today revealed an increase in revenue, income and earnings during the final quarter of last year.

The figures

Revenue excluding interest expense was up two per cent in the quarter, to $20bn (£16.4bn) from $19.6bn this time last year.

Net income jumped to $4.7bn from $1.4bn in the fourth quarter of 2015.The group generated net interest income of $10.3bn, up from $9.7bn in the final three months of last year.

Earnings per share jumped to $0.40 from $0.27 - beating estimates of $0.38.

Why it's interesting

The bank, which sold its credit card company MBNA to Lloyds Banking Group at the end of last year, has continued the positive pattern set by its results for the third quarter, in which its earnings were much better than expected.

BoAML's strong results come in a week during which US banks are expected to report good numbers on the whole. It's the first institution to report since the Federal Reserve moved to increase interest rates in December.

Rival JP Morgan also reported good results today, with analysts predicting that the firms will continue to perform well.

"The US banking sector has performed extremely well recently, driven by growing earnings and expectations that they will rise even higher," said Kerim Derhalli, chief executive of invstr.

"This suggests that the negative legacy of the financial crisis – bank fines and bad balance sheet assets – has diminished.

"As the business cycle progresses and the yield curve steepens, bank earnings will increase further. The prospect of de-regulation under a Trump presidency is likely to increase opportunities for banks to generate risk-based revenues once more."

What Bank of America said

“We had strong results in 2016 because our strategy is working," said chief executive Brian Moynihan.

"We are lending more and seeing historically low charge-offs, which is what responsible growth is all about. With strong leadership positions in our businesses against a backdrop of rising interest rates, we are well-positioned to continue to grow and deliver for our shareholders in 2017."

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