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Bank of America reports second-quarter profit
(Reuters) / 18 July 2012
Bank of America Corp reported a second-quarter profit on Wednesday as the second-largest U.S. bank cut costs and reduced reserves for loan losses.
Net income was $2.5 billion, or 19 cents a share, compared with a loss of $8.8 billion a year earlier, when the bank took $20.7 billion in mortgage-related and other charges.
The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank has lagged its peers in recovering from the financial crisis, largely due to losses tied to its 2008 purchase of subprime lender Countrywide Financial.
Total revenue declined to $21.97 billion, from $22.28 billion in the first quarter but up from $13.24 billion a year ago. Banks are struggling to boost revenue amid weak demand, low interest rates and new regulations crimping fees.
To boost profits, Bank of America last year launched a cost-cutting program called Project New BAC. On Wednesday, the bank said the second phase of the initiative, which covers capital markets, commercial banking and wealth management areas, aims to reap $3 billion in annual savings by mid-2015.
The bank last year said the first phase, which focuses on consumer businesses and information technology, was expected to save $5 billion per year and eliminate 30,000 jobs.
The cost-cutting drive showed results in the second quarter as expenses fell to $17 billion, from $22.9 billion a year ago and $19.1 billion in the first quarter.
“In a challenging global economy, we still see opportunities to do more with our customers and clients. Lending to commercial businesses increased for the sixth straight quarter — with small business lending and commitments up 23 percent in a year — and consumer credit is in the best shape in years,” Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said.
The bank’s provision for loan losses fell to $1.77 billion, its lowest level since the first quarter of 2007, compared with $3.26 billion a year ago.
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