Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) has been the best turnaround story in the banking industry in the post-financial-crisis years, and its second-quarter earnings show that things are still moving in the right direction.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on July 16, 2018.
Michael Douglass: Bank of America. Wow, 43% year over year growth in earnings, 3% revenue growth. Merrill Edge brokerage assets grew 20% year over year. Trading revenue up 7%. All across the board, a very good quarter for Bank of America.
Matt Frankel: Yeah. I would call Bank of America the clear winner of earnings season so far. In complete disclosure, I'm a shareholder. I've been following Bank of America for a very long time. Since the financial crisis, their turnaround has been phenomenal. Looking at some of these numbers -- they aced the trading revenue. Trading revenue is up 7%. Not quite as great as JPMorgan, but it's in the direction we wanted to see, it was exactly what we thought it would be. Return on equity, return on assets, are both well over those 10% and 1% benchmarks. If you followed Bank of America in the few years after the financial crisis, that would have seemed crazy to predict.
So, Bank of America is really doing well. They've really emphasized expense reduction, especially through technology. Bank of America, in my opinion, is the technological leader of the Big Four, in terms of how much they've invested successfully in building out their mobile platforms, their online platforms, the functionality of customers being able to make appointments with bankers through their phones or computers. They're really almost eliminating the need to go to a branch at this point.
That's really resulted in high efficiency for them. Their efficiency ratio is 59% this quarter. That's the best we've seen from Bank of America in about a decade. So, this was a very, very good quarter. More important than just this quarter, it's really a continued trend in the right direction that we're seeing that's most promising.
Douglass: I'll note here, a 10.8% ROE and about a 1.2% ROA, those are solid numbers. But for me, within that historical context, that this is much better numbers than they've been reporting in the past, is a very good sign that the expense discipline and the thoughtful work that Bank of America has done in terms of retooling and trying to get smarter and better and leaner and more profitable, at least so far, appears to be paying off. Of course, the big question will be, just what does their credit quality look like when the cycle turns?