Anyone afflicted with arithmophobia -- a persistent fear of numbers -- might want to stay clear of Bank of America's
The integration of Fleet, which was acquired in April, continues to proceed smoothly, and all banking centers in the former Fleet footprint have now been rebranded. During the year, there were 184,000 new consumer checking accounts and 196,000 savings accounts opened at former Fleet banks -- both easily surpassing internal targets of 150,000. Overall, the company added 2.1 million consumer checking accounts last year, representing a dramatic 69% increase, and net new savings accounts quadrupled from 640,000 to 2.6 million.
During the fourth quarter, more than 1.5 million credit card accounts were established, helping full-year totals jump 31% to 5.59 million. Through a partnership with CheckFree
For the year, total revenues rose 29% to $49.6 billion, driven by lending-income and fee-income increases of 34% and 22%, respectively. As has been the case recently, the consumer and small-business segment continues to do most of the heavy lifting. Earnings in that division, which constituted nearly half of the total, rose 15% on revenues that increased 28% to $26.9 billion. Both results would have been higher had rising interest rates not taken a large toll on mortgage banking. Other banks are posting steep drops there as well, such as National City
Bank of America's commercial banking activity, while still not running at full speed, did generate earnings of $2.83 billion, close to a triple-digit increase. The investment banking unit reported a more modest 9% gain in earnings. Also, with assets under management swelling to $451.5 billion, earnings derived from wealth management operations improved 28% to $1.58 billion.
The company's fourth-quarter results headline a generally positive period for the sector. Regional bank BB&T
With a forward price-to-earnings ratio that barely nudges into double-digit range and an attractive 4% dividend yield, Bank of America is still a compelling all-weather pick.
Fool contributor Nathan Slaughter owns none of the companies mentioned.
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