Speaking to CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Bank of America’s (NYSE:BAC) Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan explained how the company managed to post a twenty percent gain in the past three months, citing the changing nature of the company’s business as the main reason the bank has been able to “outperform the competition.”
In the last quarter, Bank of America took a $2.7 billion hit to earnings, due in part to the huge settlement with Fannie Mae. But as the majority of the bank’s major lawsuits are now in the past, Moynihan said that most of the mortgage-related financial impacts are also behind it. “The real task now is to finish the cleanup of the mortgages themselves, and we have been working hard on that, that’s where there are a lot of upside to earnings going forward,” he said.
For the most part, Bank of America’s downsizing of its investment business is finished; the unit that was once staffed by 58,000 employees now has only 9,000. However, cuts are not taking place across the board, as the bank is sizing its workforce to customer demand. According to Moynihan, thousands of small business bankers have been hired and the headcount of the mortgage loan division has grown as well.
Moynihan is not concerned about the upcoming Volcker rule that will make banking regulations more stringent. “Over the last few years, we in our industry have largely doubled capital, and our liquidity is up 4 times. We have built a lot more safe, sound institution at Bank of America, at the same time,” he said. “Secondly, we have simplified the place by getting rid of a lot of activities, which weren’t directly for the customers we served, that were built up through acquisitions and things like that.”
“We have great earnings power,” he added, explaining why the company’s stock was up over 100 percent last year. In particular, Moynihan noted that the company’s equities business will likely see a boost this year because as financial uncertainties continue to “come out of the system,” investments will proceed aggressively.
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