Bank of America
A Bank of America sign is pictured in Encinitas, California, in this file photo taken Jan. 14, 2014. Reuters/Mike Blake

In the latest salvo against cryptocurrencies by the traditional financial system, Bank of America (BoA) said it considered them “speculative or risky” products, and outlined other risks posed by virtual currencies to its business, in its latest annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The 10-K filing referred to cryptocurrencies, without naming any specific one, three times under a subsection titled “Risk Factors” and described three different ways in which they could pose problems for the bank’s business.

The first reference was under geopolitical risks, with the bank talking about international money-laundering.

“Our international operations are subject to U.S. laws on foreign corrupt practices, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, know-your-customer requirements and anti-money laundering regulations. Emerging technologies, such as cryptocurrencies, could limit our ability to track the movement of funds. Our ability to comply with these laws is dependent on our ability to improve detection and reporting capabilities and reduce variation in control processes and oversight accountability,” BoA said in the filing.

The second risk reference to cryptocurrencies was the one where the bank referred to them categorically as “speculative or risky,” while talking about the growth of non-traditional financial products and its impact on the BoA’s profits.

“Technological advances and the growth of e-commerce have made it easier for non-depository institutions to offer products and services that traditionally were banking products, and for financial institutions to compete with technology companies in providing electronic and internet-based financial solutions including electronic securities trading, marketplace lending and payment processing. Further, clients may choose to conduct business with other market participants who engage in business or offer products in areas we deem speculative or risky, such as cryptocurrencies. Increased competition may negatively affect our earnings,” the filing said.

The third reference was along similar lines, with BoA saying: “The widespread adoption of new technologies, including internet services, cryptocurrencies and payment systems, could require substantial expenditures to modify or adapt our existing products and services as we grow and develop our internet banking and mobile banking channel strategies in addition to remote connectivity solutions,” adding it “might not be successful in developing or introducing” competing products at lower prices.

Like many other U.S. banks, BoA has places restrictions on the purchase of cryptocurrencies. BoA credit cards cannot be used to buy non-fiat virtual currencies.

At 5 a.m. EST Saturday, bitcoin was trading at about $9,850, while bitcoin cash was at $1,200. Among other popular cryptocurrencies, ethereum was trading around $830 and litecoin was at just over $200. The BoA stock had closed Friday trade on the New York Stock Exchange 1.07 percent higher, at $32.03.