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Bank of America Q4 Profit Blasts Forecast, Sees Flat Expenses in 2022; Shares Surge

Solid loan growth and a tight grip on expenses added support to stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings for Bank of America.

Updated at 9:35 am EST

Bank of America  (BAC) - Get Bank of America Corp Report posted stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings Wednesday while noting that overall expenses would only rise marginally this year, removing a key profit risk from an otherwise solid near-term outlook.

Bank of America said profit for the three months ended in December were tabbed at 82 cents per share, up 28.8% from the same period last year and 6 cents ahead of the Street consensus forecast of 76 cents per share.  

Group revenues, the bank said, rose 10% from last year to $22.1 billion, falling just shy of estimates of a $22.23 billion tally. Net interest income rose 11% to $11.4 billion, the bank said, while total loans were up 8%. to $979 billion.

Non-interest expenses for 2022, Bank of America said, would include around $400 million in personnel costs this quarter, but would remain 'approximate' to the levels seen in 2021. 

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"Our fourth-quarter results were driven by strong organic growth, record levels of digital engagement, and an improving economy," said CEO Brian Moynihan. "We grew loans by $51 billion and added $100 billion of deposits during the quarter, further strengthening our position as the leader in retail deposits."

“We earned a record $32 billion in 2021, with every business line solidly contributing," he added. "Investment Banking had its best year ever and Global Markets had its highest sales and trading revenue in a decade, led by record Equities performance as we invested in the business."

Bank of America shares were marked 4% higher in early trading immediately following the earnings release to change hands at $48.07 each.

Wall Street banks have posted a mixed collection of fourth quarter earnings so far this reporting season, with JPMorgan  (JPM) - Get JPMorgan Chase & Co. Report cautioning that net interest income, a key profit metric, will likely fall from last year's levels and Goldman Sachs  (GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Report noting rising expenses -- including billions in bonus payments -- ate into its bottom line.