Bank of America posts drop in first-quarter profit

Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) beat estimates for first-quarter profit on Monday, as strong growth in its consumer lending business helped offset a hit from a slowdown in global deal-making.

The bank reported a 9% rise in consumer banking revenue to $8.8 billion in the quarter ended March.

“First-quarter results were strong despite challenging markets and volatility,” Chief Financial Officer Alastair Borthwick said in a statement.

“Net interest income increased by $1.4 billion versus the year-ago quarter supported by strong loan and deposit growth. Going forward, and with the forward curve expectation of rising interest rates, we anticipate realizing more of the benefit of our deposit franchise.”

However, total investment banking fees plunged 35% to $1.5 billion in the quarter.

Big U.S. banks benefited from a deal-making boom last year after the Federal Reserve pumped liquidity into capital markets to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, however, investment banking revenue have taken a hit as companies delayed takeovers and stock market listings amid a surge in volatility in equity markets.

Bank of America’s global banking segment, which houses the investment banking business, reported $165 million of provisions for credit losses, primarily because it built reserves tied to its exposure to Russia and a growth in loans.

The second-largest U.S. bank by assets released $362 million from its reserves it had set aside for bad loans.

Profit applicable to common shareholders fell nearly 13% to $6.6 billion, or 80 cents per share, for the quarter ended March 31 from $7.56 billion, or 86 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 75 cents per share, according to the IBES estimate from Refinitiv.

Shares of the bank were up 1% in premarket trading.

Reporting by Mehnaz Yasmin in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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