“Anemic results underscore how little fun it is to run a big bank these days. The $276 million loss that Bank of America announced on Wednesday, however, at least provides some valuable perspective.”
“The bank, led by Brian Moynihan, was already expected to report a pretty low number because of its $3.6 billion mortgage settlement with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s regulator. What surprised shareholders, though, was a $2.4 billion addition to reserves. Bank of America took the step after deciding that the amount it may have to pay out on lawsuits and other mortgage issues went up in the first three months of the year.”
“Penalty inflation has become a growing concern. Even so, much of the worst news at rival banks, not least JPMorgan Chase’s $13 billion settlement, came out before the end of 2013. That suggests that Bank of America has been tardy in re-evaluating its own exposures.”
“JPMorgan’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, may take some comfort from the discouraging signs at his rival. He and his institution have been beaten up over the past two years on home loans and other mistakes. And yet it took a $9 billion hit, or 50 percent more than what Bank of America just paid, to cause a quarterly loss last year. That’s a stark reminder of JPMorgan’s comparative profitability despite its similarly sized balance sheet.”
“But Michael Corbat, the Citigroup boss, is probably scratching his head. Mr. Corbat has been coping with the embarrassment of the Federal Reserve rejecting his bank’s plan to return capital to shareholders, citing concerns over how the bank measures risk.”
Read full New York Times article here.