* First-qtr profit $2.62 bln vs $653 mln a year earlier
* Per-share profit 20 cents vs Street view 22 cents
* Settles three MBS lawsuits for $500 million
* Shares fall 4.7 pct
(Adds context on legal troubles, adds investor comment, closing
By Rick Rothacker and Tanya Agrawal
April 17 Bank of America Corp's revenue
fell across almost all its businesses in the first quarter, and
the bank was hit yet again by mortgage mess cleanup costs,
showing the difficulties Chief Executive Brian Moynihan faces in
moving past the housing crisis.
Many of the bank's revenue generators - including consumer
banking, mortgages and debt, currency and commodities trading -
turned in weaker performances. All told, adjusted revenue fell
8.4 percent to $23.85 billion.
Bank of America shares closed down 4.7 percent at $11.70 on
The results suggest that Bank of America's purchase of
Countrywide Financial at the height of the housing crisis is
still haunting the bank even though Moynihan has said the end is
in sight. They also show that the bank may be recovering from
the financial crisis more slowly than Citigroup Inc, the
other big bank that required multiple government bailouts.
"There is enormous earnings capability here, and we're
certainly not seeing Bank of America perform to the extent it
should be able to," said Gary Townsend, chief executive of
Hill-Townsend Capital in Chevy Chase, Maryland, which owns a
small position in the bank's stock. "We have great bones here,
but we need more muscle to get this thing going the way it needs
In a conference call with journalists, Chief Financial
Officer Bruce Thompson said the drop in revenue, excluding
accounting adjustments, reflected strong markets business and
debt security gains a year earlier, and the tougher environment
for interest rates in the first quarter of this year.
There were some bright spots at the Charlotte, North
Carolina-based bank, too. It made more home loans, and
investment banking fees increased. Revenue in its wealth
management business rose, which could bode well for Morgan
Stanley, due to report quarterly results on Thursday.
Net income quadrupled as expenses dropped and the bank set
aside less money to cover bad loans. But Wall Street analysts
were expecting an even bigger gain, and the comparison was
flattered by a host of one-time items, including a year-earlier
charge of $4.8 billion related to the value of the bank's debt.
The bank said on Wednesday it had settled three
mortgage-backed securities lawsuits related to its Countrywide
unit for $500 million, the latest in a series of mortgage
settlements for Bank of America.
Moynihan hopes the end of settlements is in sight, and aims
to reduce expenses in the division that handles delinquent
mortgages by $1 billion per quarter by the end of 2013. He has
also pledged to cut $8 billion in expenses companywide annually
The bank, the last of the big four U.S. banks to report
first-quarter results, said on Wednesday it expects quarterly
savings on expenses of about $1.5 billion by the fourth quarter
of 2013, representing 75 percent of the quarterly target. In the
first quarter, expenses fell 5.2 percent to $18.15 billion.
As with other big banks this quarter, Bank of America
results received a boost from reduced credit losses as borrowers
did a better job of making their payments. The bank's provision
for loan losses fell 29.2 percent to $1.71 billion.
Net income jumped to $2.62 billion, or 20 cents a share,
from $653 million, or 3 cents, a year earlier.
Analysts on average had expected 22 cents a share, according
to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The drop in the top line was a disappointment as well.
Contributing to the overall revenue decline was a sharp drop in
revenue from the fixed income, currency and commodities markets,
down $829 million to $3.3 billion.
Revenue in the Global Banking division stagnated at $4.23
billion, though investment banking fees rose 26 percent, driven
by debt underwriting and advising on deals.
In the Global Markets arm, sales and trading revenue,
excluding an accounting adjustment, fell to $4.45 billion from
Revenue from Consumer and Business Banking dropped by $208
million to $7.21 billion because of a decline in net interest
income as consumer loan balances dropped and low rates held back
Wealth management defied the overall trend. Revenue from the
Global Wealth and Investment Management arm climbed 7 percent to
$4.42 billion. Long-term assets under management rose by a
record $20.4 billion.
MORTGAGE LENDING JUMPS
Bank of America said it extended more mortgage loans in the
quarter, even as the home refinancing boom cooled. It issued $24
billion of first-lien mortgages, up 57 percent from a year
earlier and up 11 percent from the 2012 fourth quarter.
The bank has missed out on much of the home lending boom
because it scaled back its mortgage business after taking huge
losses on its disastrous purchase of subprime lender Countrywide
Financial in 2008. In recent quarters, it has been adding loan
officers in an effort to win back market share.
Bank of America's litigation expenses for the first quarter
fell to $881 million from $916 million in the fourth quarter of
2012 and $793 million a year earlier.
The bank won permission from the Federal Reserve in March to
buy back $5 billion in common stock after passing the annual
stress test of big banks. The bank said stock repurchases would
start in the second quarter.
(Reporting by Rick Rothacker in Charlotte, N.C., and Tanya
Agrawal in Bangalore; Writing by Frank McGurty; editing by
Supriya Kurane, John Wallace and Matthew Lewis)