• The bank reported earnings of $3.5 billion, or $0.37 a share
  • Profits dropped by more than half from a year earlier
  • Revenue slightly exceeded analysts’ estimate

Bank of America (BAC) saw its second-quarter earnings boosted by better-than-expected revenue from bond trading and investment banking, but still set aside $4 billion for loan losses tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bank reported earnings of $3.5 billion, or $0.37 a share, besting analysts’ estimates of $0.27 a share. Still, profits dropped 52% drop from $7.35 billion a year earlier.

Second-quarter revenue of $22.5 billion slightly exceeded analysts’ estimate of $22 billion.

The bank’s investment banking fees jumped by 57% to a record $2.2 billion; the estimate had been $1.67 billion.

The strong performance in Bank of America’s trading division helped to compensate for coronavirus . The bank raised reserves for credit losses by $4 billion, from $1.1 billion to $5.1 billion, while lower interest rates reduced interest income by 11%, from $12.1 billion to $10.8 billion.

Bank of America shares have plunged 30% this year.

"Strong capital markets results provided an important counterbalance to the COVID-19-related impacts on our consumer business, and our industry-leading digital capabilities allowed us to support clients amid difficult working conditions," said Chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan.

He added: "We provided billions in credit to clients; announced a $1 billion, four-year commitment to drive economic and racial equality in our communities; strengthened our balance sheet by increasing deposits, capital and loan loss reserves; invested in technology and equipment to help keep our employees safe; and delivered for shareholders, earning more than twice our quarterly dividend."