Bank of America posts loss after repaying bailout

BANK of America has posted a quarterly loss and its first full-year deficit in more than 20 years after repaying US bailout money and defaults on consumer loans.

The fourth-quarter loss including the cost of exiting the Troubled Asset Relief Program widened to $5.2bn (£3.2bn) or 60 cents a share, from $2.4bn, or 48 cents, a year earlier.

Excluding TARP costs, the deficit was $194m.

Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan has promised a "DNA change" as the firm focuses on operations instead of takeovers and bailouts.

Credit cards and home lending were both unprofitable, the bank said.

Costs tied to bad loans declined from the third quarter, and the bank said it benefited from gains at investment and brokerage services.

Moynihan added in his statement: "Economic conditions remain fragile and we expect high unemployment levels to continue, creating an ongoing drag on consumer spending and growth.

"We are encouraged by signs the economy is improving, as we have seen in the stabilization of our credit costs, particularly in the consumer business."