Bank of America Earnings: Large Loss on Special Charge


Bank of America (BAC) reported a third-quarter net loss of $7.3 billion, or 77 cents per share, because of a $10.4 billion goodwill charge related to credit and debit card reform legislation passed over the summer. The charge, the bank said, was a one-time, non-cash, non-tax deductible goodwill impairment charge applicable to the Global Card Services segment.

Excluding the charge, the bank reported adjusted net income of $3.1 billion, or 27 cents per share. Net income, which benefited from lower credit costs and higher net interest income, trounced analyst estimates of 16 cents per share. Last year, BofA reported a net loss of $1.0 billion, or 26 cents per share. But the improvements were partially offset by lower service charges, lower trading account profits and a decrease in insurance income.

Revenue at the bank declined 8% sequentially to $26.98 billion, but was up 2% from $26.36 billion in the same period last year. Revenue was just shy of analyst estimates of $27.15, according to Thomson Reuters.

"Our results this quarter demonstrate continued traction with each customer group -- consumers, businesses, and institutional investors," said President and CEO Brian Moynihan. "We are adapting to the regulatory environment, credit quality continues to improve, and we are managing risk and building capital. We are realistic about the near-term challenges, and optimistic about the long-term opportunity."

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Credit quality continued to improve during the quarter, the bank said, with net charge-offs declining in almost all portfolios. The provision for credit losses was $5.4 billion, $2.7 billion lower than the second quarter and $6.3 billion lower than the same period a year earlier.

As for capital ratios, they strengthened from the second quarter due to retained earnings and the sale of First Republic Bank.

Bank of America said that because of new regulations, it is changing the way its consumer bank does business, focusing on a "relationship enhancement strategy." Instead of dependence on penalty fees, the bank now plans to give customers incentives -- such as rewards for e-banking -- "to bring more business and to make pricing more upfront and transparent." These changes are expected to result in additional revenue, the bank said.