Bank of America profits jump 10% but warns of slowing spending by Americans

BANK OF AMERICA posted a 10% rise in third quarter profits, helped by higher interest rates. ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO / MICHAEL DWYER

NEW YORK (AP) – Bank of America Corp. posted a 10% rise in third-quarter profits Tuesday, helped by higher interest rates that allowed the bank to charge more for loans at the same time that it kept expenses under control.

However, CEO Brian Moynihan warned Tuesday that Americans continue to slow their spending after burning through pandemic savings, and now face higher costs due to inflation.

The Charlotte, N.C., bank earned a profit of $7.8 billion, or 90 cents per share, which is 13 cents better than Wall Street had expected, according to a survey of analysts by FactSet. It also tops last year’s $7.1 billion profit, or 81 cents per share, in the same period.

Most of the higher profits came from higher interest rates on loans, with net interest income coming in at $14.4 billion, compared with $13.76 billion a year earlier.

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With much of the savings gone from the pandemic, consumers are turning more heavily to credit cards to manage their expenses. BofA saw credit card balances rise to $98 billion in the quarter, compared with $85 billion a year ago. The bank also saw higher charge offs this quarter, or money it doesn’t expect to recover from credit card use.

“We did this in a healthy but slowing economy that saw US consumer spending still ahead of last year but continuing to slow,” said Moynihan in a prepared statement.

Investment banking and trading at BofA also did well in the quarter. The bank saw revenue from stock trading rise 10% to $1.7 billion in the quarter, with zero days of trading losses in the last 90 days.

Bank of America shares rose 1.1% in morning trading.

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