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April 16, 2014

Bank of America Swings to Quarterly Loss on Legal Costs

“Bank of America swung to a first-quarter loss of $276 million, as legal expenses related to the financial crisis mounted.”

“The bank said on Wednesday that its litigation expenses increased to $6 billion in the quarter, showing how Bank of America is still paying for its mortgage missteps nearly six years after the financial crisis.”

“Its quarterly loss of $276 million, or a loss of 5 cents a share, was in sharp contrast with a $1.5 billion profit, or earnings of 10 cents a share, it posted in the period a year earlier. Analysts polled by Bloomberg News had been expecting earnings a share of 5 cents.”

“Excluding one-time adjustments, revenue fell 4 percent from the period a year earlier, to $22.8 billion.”

“The company’s stock was down about 2 percent midday.”

“The cost of resolving more of our mortgage issues hurt our earnings this quarter,” Brian T. Moynihan, the bank’s chief executive, said in a statement. “But the earnings power of our business and customer strategy generated solid results and we continued to return excess capital to our shareholders.”

“First-quarter profit was weighed down by $6.3 billion the bank paid last month to settle a lawsuit arising from troubled mortgage-backed securities it bundled and sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before the financial crisis.”

“The bank agreed to pay that sum to settle a lawsuit filed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency on behalf of the two government-sponsored mortgage finance firms. As part of the settlement, Bank of America will also repurchase mortgage securities from Fannie and Freddie that are valued at about $3.2 billion.”

The agreement covers so-called private-label mortgage-backed securities sold by Bank of America and its affiliated entities, like Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch.”

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Read full New York Times DealBook article here.

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