Getting back to the 16% annual decline in expenses that Orenbuch says is currently priced into Bank of America's shares, the analyst said that "despite the announced mortgage servicing sales, it will take until 2014 for the annual run-rate of expense saves. Separately, we think it will be hard for Bank of America to grow revenues faster than the 'average' bank."
Orenbuch did say that "If BAC is able to get an additional 5 percentage point improvement in the efficiency ratio, this would correspond to $0.30 in EPS, and over 200 bps in [return on tangible equity]," which would be "sufficient to have the shares be attractive at current levels."
"However, this represents about 40% of Legacy Assets & Servicing costs, which will likely take through 2015 to achieve that level of reduction," he said, making Bank of America a longer term expense savings play.
The efficiency ratio is, essentially, the number of pennies of expenses a bank incurs for each dollar of revenue. Bank of America's third-quarter efficiency ratio was 81.32%, according to Thomson Reuters Bank Insight.
Orenbuch estimates that Bank of America will earn $1.08 a share in 2013, with EPS increasing to $1.40 in 2014.
Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.