BofA branch declines continue as mobile banking grows

|About: Bank of America Corporation (BAC)|By:, SA News Editor

"You know what we know," says Bank of America (BAC +3.3%) CFO Bruce Thompson, responding to a question about the Article 77 hearing on approving/throwing out the bank's $8.5B private investor settlement over MBS. The trial is over, says Thompson, and the parties await the judge's ruling.

Mobile banking continues to take share and the number of branches - which fell to 5,151 in Q4 from 5,478 a year earlier - could drop to less than 5K by year's end, says Thompson. Mobile banking customers of 14.4M compares to 14M in Q3 and 12M a year ago. Yesterday, JPMorgan announced its dropped plans to add new branches.

CC webcast and slides

It was a "very strong" quarter, says Goldman's Richard Ramsden, who puts core EPS at something closer to $0.39 (vs. his expectation for $0.31), rather than the $0.29 reported. "Even normalizing for lower market-related NII and lower reserve releases, today's result makes next year's consensus estimate of $1.32 look very achievable, particularly given remaining cost leverage from LAS and New BAC."

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