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Bank of America: The Glass-Half-Full View

By contrast, the trading business was one of JPMorgan's strongest areas, which helped JPMorgan offset weaknesses in other ares of its business such as consumer lending. BofA didn't show this advantage because areas such as mortgage banking and credit cards showed meaningful sequential declines, albeit in line with Street expectations.

Along similar lines, expenses were also up 4% sequentially. Although Bank of America missed the consensus estimate, the higher expense was a noticeable trend across the sector. Wells Fargo also saw a 4% sequential increase, while Citigroup's expenses increase by 1%.

However, it's worth noting here that of the "big four" banks, BofA was the only one to post a sequential decline in deposits.

That said, I don't believe there's cause for concern here, given BofA's immense size and the fact that it still leads both Wells Fargo and JPMorgan in overall deposits. But this is something that's certainly worth monitoring for the next quarter.

As with Citigroup, there are still plenty of legacy issues impacting upon Bank of America's performance. Should investors worry BofA is losing share to its rivals?

To that end, management has been saying all of the right things, assuring investors that recent restructuring efforts will place BofA on a growth path for the next several years. These include a previously reported plan to reduce 10% of its workforce.

What this means is that patient shareholders will be rewarded much sooner rather than later because these improvements can help spur stock buybacks as well as the company's ability to issue dividends.

Here's Making Sense

Bank of America has fought a long battle toward recovery. Although there is yet plenty of work to be done, there are signs the bank is starting to regain both investor and consumer confidence.

With the recent uptick in the stock price, I do believe Bank of America is fairly priced today. That's not to say, however, that more gains are not possible. But at this point, there's more upside potential in JPMorgan and Wells Fargo.

At the time of publication, the author held no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Richard Saintvilus is a private investor with an information technology and engineering background and the founder and producer of the investor Web site Saint's Sense. He has been investing and trading for over 15 years. He employs conservative strategies in assessing equities and appraising value while minimizing downside risk. His decisions are based in part on management, growth prospects, return on equity and price-to-earnings as well as macroeconomic factors. He is an investor who seeks opportunities whether on the long or short side and believes in changing positions as information changes.
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