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Bank of America Q1 profits fall 12 per cent, much less than rivals

NEW YORK (AP) – Bank of America posted a 12-per-cent decline in first-quarter profits from a year earlier, a decline that was much less than the ones its rivals had reported the previous week. The nation’s second-largest bank was helped by higher net interest income and no noticeable exposure to Russian assets.

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank said it earned a profit of USD7.1 billion, or 80 cents a share, compared with a profit of USD8.05 billion, or 86 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. The results were better than what analysts had forecasted, according to FactSet.

While BofA’s profits fell like the other big five Wall Street banks this quarter, their results were helped by a few factors that helped the bank do better than its rivals this quarter.

The bank saw net interest income increase 13 per cent in the quarter, roughly USD1.4 billion. BofA’s balance sheet is more skewed to bonds with shorter maturities, so short-term moves in interest rates tend to quickly impact the bank’s bottom line.

The bank did not have to set aside much funds this quarter to cover potential losses as well, in contrast to JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, who had to set aside money to cover the risk of a recession as well as for their exposures to Russia.

Like other banks, BofA saw a drop in investment banking revenues and fees in the quarter as businesses refrained from deal-making due to market volatility. Trading revenues were down in the quarter, also due to market volatility.