NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bank of America Corp posted a 37.5 percent drop in first quarter earnings, hurt by mortgage-related costs.
The bank also said its chief risk officer, Bruce Thompson, would take on the additional role of chief financial officer at the end of the second quarter. Chuck Noski, the current CFO, will become vice chairman of Bank of America.
“The figures are clearly disappointing and missed the market expectations. It is clear that a number of factors played a role and influenced the different earnings levels. Pressure on the mortgage business had a significant impact for example. This in itself, however, doesn’t really come as a huge surprise to me, but the market seems to have been more optimistic and may be disappointed.”
“The EPS is worse than expected and this is really surprising considering the satisfying JP Morgan figures earlier this week. These figures could weigh on the market but many investors may still be waiting to see how others like Goldman and Morgan Stanley do before taking direction and making a solid judgment on the sector. I don’t think that this is one of the most indicative groups in the sector.”
DAVID MORRISON, MARKET STRATEGIST AT GFT GLOBAL MARKETS, LONDON
“The first thing is of course the earnings per share which is a big miss. I think the reason seems to be Bank of America is struggling with the mortgage mess and cleaning up what is going on there. This is an ongoing situation. We are seeing investors are marking its shares down ... If we are really seeing a slowdown in the U.S. economy, which we certainly seem to be with GDP estimates getting revised down and rising input costs across the board going to affect corporations and consumers already been hit, we might see a dip down in consumer demand. Going forward, I think Bank of America is going to struggle and it can’t rely on consumer going forward. It has got a lot to unscramble with the mortgage mess and foreclosures.”
OLIVER PURSCHE, PRESIDENT AT GARY GOLDBERG FINANCIAL SERVICES IN SUFFERN, NEW YORK
”When you looked at JPMorgan on Wednesday, as you read between the lines of where they get revenue, you saw some areas of concern and some warnings from them. Now we’re seeing a similar breakdown in Bank of America, which reaffirms our position that financials will continue to be under some pressures. Though they’re sitting on a lot of cash, they’re not earning a lot on that cash. There’s still not an overwhelming willingness to lend, so they’re handicapping their own revenue streams. We don’t see a change in that this year.
“The Street knows Bank of America has troubles; there were never all that high of expectations. Obviously it isn’t a positive that it missed expectations, but it isn’t ‘holy moly this is a huge shock.”
MALCOLM POLLEY, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER AT FRONT BARNETT ASSOCIATES
”In the banking world, the chief risk officer or compliance person has been elevated in importance and is really taking on a much larger role in many banking organizations.
”A lot of this really has to do with Dodd-Frank.
”To the extent that banks have had financial issues, whether they should have been caught by financial audits or caused sharp declines in earnings, the chief risk officer has taken on a much greater role within many organizations.
“Boards of directors, whether it has been inferred or put into writing, have seen their personal liability increase dramatically -- to the extent that most financial institution boards put a higher degree of importance on the chief risk officer rather than the chief financial officer.”
GARY TOWNSEND, CEO OF HILL-TOWNSEND CAPITAL
”The explanation from the company is that the CFO could not move from the west coast for personal reasons. It seems plausible.
“Any time there is an unexpected change in the CFO whether at Wells Fargo or Bank of America, it will generate talk in terms of why. This seems somewhat more straightforward than Atkins’ departure.”
On earnings: “The principal weight on the quarter continues to be mortgages.”
Reporting by Dominic Lau in London, Josie Cox in Frankfurt, and Clare Baldwin and in New York; Compiled by Tiffany Wu