Bank of New York ( BK), the nation's oldest bank, reported a more-than-fourfold gain in fourth-quarter gain as the lender booked a big gain from the sale of its retail branches.

In the quarter, profit rose to $1.8 billion, or $2.36 cents a share, from $405 million, or 53 cents, a year ago. The bank's results included the proceeds from the sale of its retail banking operation to JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) as part of an asset swap transaction.

Excluding the sale proceeds, the bank says it earned 58 cents a share on operating basis. By that measure, the bank exceeded the Thomson Financial forecast of 55 cents a share.

Bank of New York is in the process of merging with Mellon Financial ( MEL) to create the world's largest trust and securities processing bank.

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