NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Bank of America (BAC - Get Report) and QBE Insurance Corp. have agreed to pay $228 million to settle claims that the two entities had been involved in a kickback scheme that inflated the cost of insurance that homeowners had been forced to buy, according to Reuters.
The settlement was reached in federal court in Miami and is the latest in a line of so-called "forced-place" insurance, or coverage set up by lenders to protect their interest in a property once a homeowner's insurance lapses. Mortgage agreements permit lenders to charge homeowners for insurance, but these lawsuits claim that banks take advantage of this by dumping the costs of kickbacks they received from insurance providers onto homeowners' laps.
QBE Insurance Corp. is part of QBE Insurance Group Ltd., the largest global insurer in Australia.
TheStreet Ratings team rates BANK OF AMERICA CORP as a "buy" with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate BANK OF AMERICA CORP (BAC) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 12.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 11.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
- BANK OF AMERICA CORP reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, BANK OF AMERICA CORP increased its bottom line by earning $0.91 versus $0.25 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.10 versus $0.91).
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Commercial Banks industry. The net income increased by 369.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $732.00 million to $3,439.00 million.
- The gross profit margin for BANK OF AMERICA CORP is currently very high, coming in at 86.64%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 14.08% is above that of the industry average.
- Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 146.29% to $11,994.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow of 146.29%, BANK OF AMERICA CORP is still growing at a significantly lower rate than the industry average of 409.51%.
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: BAC Ratings Report