Loan growth and higher interest rates drove Bank of America’s (BAC - Free Report) first-quarter 2019 earnings of 70 cents per share, which outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 65 cents. Also, the figure was up 13% from the prior-year quarter.
Net interest income growth (driven by higher interest rates and decent loan growth) majorly supported the top line. Further, operating expenses recorded a decline.
As expected, investment banking performance was weak as both equity and debt underwriting revenues declined, while advisory fees improved. Additionally, equity and fixed income trading was dismal, leading to decline in trading revenues. Further, card fees and service charges on deposits decreased.
Moreover, provision for credit losses increased during the reported quarter.
Overall performance of the company’s business segments, in terms of net income generation, was decent. All segments, except Global Markets and Others, witnessed a rise in net income.
Lower Trading, Investment Banking Hurt Revenues, Expenses Down
Net revenues amounted to $23 billion, which marginally lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $23.2 billion. Also, the reported figure was down slightly on a year-over-year basis.
Net interest income, on a fully taxable-equivalent basis, grew 5% year over year to $12.5 billion, driven by higher rates, and loan and deposit growth. Furthermore, net interest yield expanded 9 basis points (bps) to 2.51%.
Non-interest income decreased 6% from the year-ago quarter to $10.6 billion. The fall was mainly due to lower fees and commissions, and decline in trading account income.
Non-interest expenses were $13.2 billion, down 4% year over year.
Efficiency ratio was 57.10%, down from 59.61% in the year-ago quarter. Decline in efficiency ratio indicates improved profitability.
Credit Quality: A Mixed Bag
Provision for credit losses increased 21% on a year-over-year basis to $1 billion. Further, net charge-offs rose 9% to $991 million, mainly due to an increase in commercial and consumer credit card portfolios.
However, as of Mar 31, 2019, ratio of non-performing assets ratio was 0.55%, down 17 bps.
Strong Capital Position
The company’s book value per share as of Mar 31, 2019, was $25.57 compared with $23.74 on Mar 31, 2018. Tangible book value per share as of first-quarter end was $18.26, up from $16.84 a year ago.
At the end of March 2019, the company’s common equity tier 1 capital ratio (Basel 3 Fully Phased-in) (Advanced approaches) was 11.9%, up from 11.3% as of Mar 31, 2018.
Share Repurchase Update
During the reported quarter, BofA repurchased shares worth $6.3 billion.
BofA’s efforts to realign its balance sheet and focus on core operations will likely support bottom-line growth. Also, the bank’s efforts to digitize operations and branch expansion plans are expected to support its financials. In addition, it is well poised to benefit from loan growth.
However, investment banking performance was disappointing. This, along with dismal trading, is expected to have an adverse impact on the company’s revenues.
Currently, BofA carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Performance of Other Big Banks
Higher rates and improved investment banking performance drove JPMorgan’s (JPM - Free Report) first-quarter 2019 earnings of $2.65 per share, which outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.32. Also, the figure was up 12% from the prior-year quarter.
Driven by prudent expense management, Wells Fargo (WFC - Free Report) delivered a positive earnings surprise of 11.1% in first-quarter 2019. Earnings of $1.20 per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.08. Results also came in above the prior-year quarter adjusted earnings of $1.12.
Citigroup (C - Free Report) delivered a positive earnings surprise of 5.1% in first-quarter 2019, backed by expense control. Earnings per share of $1.87 for the quarter handily outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.78. Also, earnings climbed 11% year over year.
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