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Bank of America Net Is $5 Billion

Profits rise 14%, topping estimates.

Bank of America


reported a 14% gain in first-quarter profits, as the nation's second-largest lender topped Wall Street expectations.

In the quarter, BofA earned $4.99 billion, or $1.07 a share, up from $4.39 billion, or $1.07 a share, a year ago. Total revenue rose 30% to $17.7 billion.

On an operating basis, which excluded a $98 million merger-related charge, the bank would have earned $1.08 a share. BofA's earnings per share were largely unchanged from a year ago because the bank had more shares outstanding this quarter compared to a year ago.

Analysts, as surveyed by Thomson Financial, were looking for BofA to earn $1 a share on revenue of $16.79 billion.

The results at BofA were boosted by its acquisition of credit-card giant MBNA, which the bank bought for $34 billion in January. BofA said if MBNA had been added to the bank's results for the year-ago quarter, the revenue gain only would have been 10%.

BofA is the latest in a string of leading U.S. lenders to post better-than-expected earnings for the first quarter, despite a tricky interest rate environment that has put a chill on the once-red-hot home-lending market.

The bank posted a strong profit gain, despite a doubling in its quarterly provision for loan losses and a big drop in gains on the sale of securities.

In the quarter, net interest income rose 17% to $8.77 billion. Net interest income is revenue a bank generates from its lending and deposit operation.

Non-interest income, which includes all other revenue at the bank, rose 48% to $8.9 billion.

On the flip side, the MBNA acquisition caused the bank's provision for loan losses to double to $1.27 billion, while gains from the sale of securities fell to $14 million, down from $659 million, in the year-ago quarter.

"We have strong momentum in all our businesses as the benefits from continued execution in our consumer businesses were accompanied this quarter by a rebound in trading and good performance in investment banking and wealth management,'' said BofA Chairman and CEO Kenneth Lewis, in a press release.