Why Bank of America Earnings Hit a Record High

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Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) reported first-quarter fiscal 2018 results before markets opened Monday morning. The big bank reported diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.62 on revenue of $23.1 billion. In the same period a year ago, it reported EPS of $0.45 on revenue of $22.2 billion. First-quarter results also compare to the consensus estimates for EPS of $0.59 on revenue of $23.06 billion.

Net income rose 30% year over year to a record $6.9 billion. Net interest income rose by $550 million year over year and non-interest income rose by $327 million. Income tax expense fell by $507 million. Non-interest expense fell by $196 million. Add it all up and the total accounts for $1.58 billion of the $1.66 billion increase in net income for the year.

Credit loss provision totaled $834 million in the quarter, essentially flat compared with the same period in 2017. In the consumer banking division, credit loss provision rose by $97 million year over year.

Net charge-offs decreased by $23 million to $911 million and the net charge-off ratio dropped for 0.42% to 0.40% year over year. The quarter’s net reserve release totaled $77 million, down from $99 million a year ago driven by “continued improvements in consumer real estate and energy exposures, partially offset by continued seasoning in the U.S. Card portfolio.”

CEO Brian Moynihan said:

Our responsible growth model continues to deliver consistent results. Strong client activity, coupled with a growing global economy and solid U.S. consumer activity, led to record quarterly earnings. We grew loans in our business segments by $45 billion and increased deposits by $41 billion. We continue to invest in new capabilities in our mobile banking app, the expansion and renovation of our financial centers, and the hiring of additional client relationship professionals. We believe these investments, and our focus on operational excellence, will drive sustainable growth over time.

The bank did not provide guidance in its earnings release. The consensus estimate for second-quarter EPS is $0.64 on revenues of $23.173 billion. For the full 2018 fiscal year, the consensus forecast is EPS of $2.52 on revenues of $92.53 billion. The tax law changes resulted in an ongoing reduction to the effective tax rate of about nine percentage points.

Shares traded higher by about 1% in the premarket Monday morning, at $30.09. The current 52-week range is $22.07 to $33.05. Thomson Reuters had a 12-month consensus analyst price target of $34.75 before results were announced.