In this segment from MarketFoolery, host Mac Greer and Motley Fool analysts Jason Moser and Taylor Muckerman parse the latest numbers from the nation's No. 2 bank by assets, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC). It has benefited both from its internal moves and big rival Wells Fargo's missteps. But as pleasant as it is to see earnings beats and continued cost-cutting, the analysts are hesitant about the stock.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on July 16, 2018.
Mac Greer: Jason, a good day for Bank of America. Shares up on better than expected earnings. What's the story here with BoA?
Jason Moser: Not a bad quarter at all. Love them or hate them, I think these guys have come a long way since the financial crisis. We remember, it wasn't all that long ago where we were at a point where we were talking about nationalizing our banks here. I think we saw Bank of America touch around $3.50 per share at that point, because there were questions as to whether it would even be able to continue on in its current form.
I think Bank of America has done a good job of capitalizing a little bit on Wells Fargo's mistakes. Bank of America, for a long time, was the easy name to drag through the mud, and Wells Fargo was the better bank.
Greer: The wagon, it was Old Reliable, that wagon. [laughs]
Moser: Yeah. [laughs] We've seen that conversation change considerably. Consequently, Bank of America continues to grow total average deposits consistently, quarter in and quarter out. That's good.
The problem that big banks are going to have here is, as we get into this environment where interest rates start to rise, that gives banks the ability to make a little bit more money on their net interest income line, because they can earn a little bit more money than they're actually paying out.
If we look at our personal savings rate today in this country, it's around 3%. It's at an all-time low, basically. People aren't saving money. Part of that is, maybe, people don't feel like they have as much money to save. I think part of it is, when you look at something like a traditional savings account today vs. what we grew up with, a savings account is not a way to generate wealth anymore. You're not going to see any competitive interest rates in a savings account, not like we used to see, at least. So, it doesn't surprise me that there aren't as many people socking away as many dollars in savings accounts and whatnot.
I think, going forward, we look at things like index funds, ETFs. Those are, perhaps, better vehicles for wealth generation. An S&P Index Fund, on a risk-adjusted basis, when you consider inflation and everything, I think it's a lower-risk form of saving than an actual savings account, to be honest with you.
Taylor Muckerman: It's wild to consider.
Moser: It is wild to consider, but when you look at it over longer stretches of time, if you dollar-cost average into an S&P Index Fund, you're going to do better. You just will. I think, probably, some people are looking at that as an option. Thankfully, Bank of America does have an investment wing in the business. I think they'll continue to be OK. It's a huge bank. But again, we look at these big banks, they're so unknowable, I don't know that I view them as the most attractive investment opportunities.