BAC: Bank of America Corp. Analysis and Research Report

2018-06-22 - by Asif , Contributing Analyst - 147 views

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Business Overview

The Corporation is a Delaware corporation, a bank holding company (BHC) and a financial holding company. When used in this report, “the Corporation” may refer to Bank of America Corporation individually, Bank of America Corporation and its subsidiaries, or certain of Bank of America Corporation’s subsidiaries or affiliates. The company's principal executive offices are located in Charlotte, North Carolina. Through its banking and various nonbank subsidiaries throughout the U.S. and in international markets, the company provide a diversified range of banking and nonbank financial services and products through four business segments: Consumer Banking, Global Wealth & Investment Management (GWIM), Global Banking and Global Markets, with the remaining operations recorded in All Other. The company operate its banking activities primarily under the Bank of America, National Association (Bank of America, N.A. or BANA) charter. At March 31, 2018, the Corporation had approximately $2.3 trillion in assets and a headcount of approximately 208,000 employees. Headcount has remained relatively unchanged since December 31, 2017.

As of March 31, 2018, the company served clients through operations across the United States, its territories and more than 35 countries. The company's retail banking footprint covers approximately 85 percent of the U.S. population, and the company serve approximately 47 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 4,400 retail financial centers, approximately 16,000 ATMs, and leading digital banking platforms (www.bankofamerica.com) with approximately 36 million active users, including approximately 25 million active mobile users. The company offer industry-leading support to approximately three million small business owners. The company's wealth management businesses, with client balances of over $2.7 trillion, provide tailored solutions to meet client needs through a full set of investment management, brokerage, banking, trust and retirement products. Bank of America is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world.

First Quarter 2018 Economic and Business Environment

U.S. macroeconomic trends in the first quarter were characterized by moderate economic growth, low inflation and a strong labor market. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the first quarter of 2018 was moderate and lower than previously estimated, with actual GDP growth of 2.3 percent, well below the fourth quarter’s 2.9 percent annualized pace. Notably, retail sales slowed in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, economic fundamentals point to a second-quarter pickup. Consumer confidence remains near cyclical highs, which along with the robust labor market, point to the likelihood of a household spending rebound in the second quarter. Business investment in equipment and software accelerated over 2017. Both manufacturing and non-manufacturing investments are near their highs of the current economic expansion.

Housing activity showed some signs of growth during the first quarter, with continued solid price appreciation when compared to the fourth quarter of 2017. Selling rates are near year-ago levels with continued persistent supply shortages.

Labor market conditions remain strong. Nonfarm payroll growth has been volatile month-to-month but solid on a trend basis. Initial jobless claims are near historic lows. The unemployment rate was 4.1 percent at the end of the quarter, unchanged for six consecutive months, as strong employment gains have been met with solid increases in labor force growth. Wage growth, however, has been relatively muted.

Inflation strengthened in the first quarter, led by gains in apparel, health care and energy. The core Consumer Price Index increased at a three-percent annualized rate, the fastest quarterly rise of the current business expansion, although the less volatile year-on-year rate remained at 2.1 percent.

Equity markets increased substantially through the end of 2017 and into early 2018, with anticipation and enactment of corporate tax reform being the main catalysts, as well as a synchronous global economic expansion. However, equity volatility increased sharply in early February and periodically in March. The S&P 500 finished the first quarter down 1.2 percent from the year end. The 10-year Treasury yield finished the first quarter at 2.76 percent, up from 2.41 percent at the end of 2017. Although the Treasury yield curve steepened during the equity sell-off, the curve subsequently flattened back to levels that prevailed at the end of 2017. The U.S. dollar index trended lower through most of the first quarter.

The Federal Reserve raised its target Federal funds rate corridor to 1.5 to 1.75 percent, the sixth 25-basis point (bp) rate increase of the current cycle. Current Federal Reserve baseline forecasts suggest gradual rate increases will continue into 2018 against a backdrop of solid economic expansion and a tightening labor market. The Federal Open Market Committee also upgraded their economic forecasts, with somewhat faster GDP growth expected this year and in 2019, and a lower trough anticipated for the unemployment rate. Federal Reserve balance sheet normalization is continuing as initially scheduled.

International trade tensions escalated in the first quarter. The U.S. Administration announced plans for broad-based tariffs on steel and aluminum, although subsequently gave exemptions to various trading partners. The Administration also announced plans for tariffs on imports from China, and the Chinese government announced retaliatory measures. Full enactment of the tariffs remains subject to negotiation and further review by the Administration.

After posting its strongest annual GDP growth in 10 years in 2017, economic activity in the eurozone lost some momentum in the first quarter of the year. Despite the positive trend in growth, underlying inflationary pressures have remained dormant. In this context, the European Central Bank continued with the tapering of its quantitative easing program. The impact of the 2016 U.K. referendum vote in favor of leaving the European Union (EU) continues to weigh on the U.K. economy which, in line with the eurozone, has also showed some signs of slowing in the first three months of the year.

Supported by a very accommodative monetary policy stance and sustained growth in external demand, the Japanese economy has continued to expand with headline inflation reaching its highest level since 2015. Across emerging nations, economic activity was supported by China’s continued transition towards a more consumption-based growth model.

Capital Management

During the first quarter of 2018, the company repurchased approximately $4.9 billion of common stock pursuant to the Board of Directors’ (the Board) June 2017 repurchase authorization under its 2017 Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) capital plan, including repurchases to offset equity-based compensation awards, and an additional share repurchase authorization in December 2017. For more information, see Capital Management on page 18.

Trust Preferred Securities Redemption

On April 30, 2018, the Corporation announced that it has submitted redemption notices for 11 series of trust preferred securities, which will result in the redemption of such trust preferred securities, along with the trust common securities (held by the Corporation or its affiliates), on June 6, 2018. The Corporation has received all necessary approvals for these redemptions. Upon the redemption of the trust preferred securities and the extinguishment of the related junior subordinated notes issued by the Corporation, expected to occur in the second quarter of 2018, the Corporation will record a charge to other income and pretax income estimated to be approximately $800 million, subject to certain redemption price calculations at that time. For additional information, see the Corporation’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on April 30, 2018.


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