Bank of America flags 4,000 job cuts despite strong results

Financial institution of America on Tuesday introduced plans to chop as many as 4,000 positions earlier than the top of June even after it reported first-quarter income that beat expectations.

The job cuts characterize 2 per cent of BofA’s total workforce, which topped 217,000 on the finish of the primary quarter after the lender had ramped up hiring because the job market heated up through the pandemic period. The financial institution’s headcount had grown 4 per cent within the 12 months to the top of March, primarily based on information it launched as a part of its earnings announcement.

BofA stated it had already slashed greater than 1,000 positions within the first two weeks of April and deliberate to eradicate an extra 3,000 jobs by the top of the quarter. The financial institution stated the cuts would replicate attrition, in addition to focused expense reductions.

Chief government Brian Moynihan stated through the financial institution’s earnings name that the cuts have been prompted by a cooling jobs market and shouldn’t be considered as an indication that it was bracing for a slowdown in its enterprise.

Moynihan stated competitors for expertise on Wall Avenue and elsewhere had brought on the financial institution to bulk up its workforce, however that attrition charges had fallen off sharply in latest months, prompting a rethink of its headcount.

“The forecast is for a recession within the second half of the 12 months, however we don’t see shopper exercise slowing to a tempo that signifies that,” Moynihan instructed analysts on the earnings name. “Every part factors to a gentle recession, however we’ll see what occurs.”

The bulletins got here alongside BofA’s earnings that confirmed income rose 15 per cent within the first quarter from a 12 months in the past to $8.2bn, or 94 cents a share. Analysts had forecast that its quarterly income would decline amid the fallout from the collapse of Silicon Valley Financial institution.

The sturdy outcomes at BofA and different giant banks underscore how reforms carried out within the wake of the 2008 monetary disaster have improved the resilience of the most important US lenders.

Like its rivals, BofA benefited from increased rates of interest, in addition to an increase in buying and selling due to the latest turmoil in monetary markets. Income from debt and commodities buying and selling surged 27 per cent within the quarter, although a droop within the inventory market drove a 20 per cent decline in its fairness market buying and selling income.

Uncertainty over the soundness of regional banks following SVB’s implosion in March led many depositors to maneuver their cash to bigger lenders. BofA stated deposits, which had declined within the first two months of the 12 months, rose across the time of SVB’s failure.

General, the financial institution’s deposits fell barely within the quarter, down 1 per cent, to $1.9bn. Against this, JPMorgan added $37bn in new deposits through the first three months of the 12 months.

Loans excellent at BofA rose 7 per cent within the quarter, whereas income from lending climbed 25 per cent. The financial institution’s income from processing transactions rose 47 per cent, and it stated credit score and debit card prospects spent 6 per cent greater than in the identical quarter a 12 months in the past.

Stronger income from lending have been sufficient to offset continued weak point in deal exercise, as charges in its funding banking enterprise dropped 20 per cent.

Nonetheless, there have been indicators that BofA was getting ready for a extra turbulent financial system. Together with the job cuts, BofA put aside $934mn for potential credit score losses within the quarter, up from lower than $50mn a 12 months in the past. The financial institution additionally considerably elevated the amount of money it has available, and lower the dimensions of its funding portfolio, which has dropped in worth due to the latest rise in rates of interest.

In latest months, analysts and buyers have questioned whether or not the financial institution had erred in placing a lot of its further money into bonds in 2020 and 2021, at a time when rates of interest have been at traditionally low ranges.

The financial institution’s unrealised losses in its bond portfolio shrunk barely within the quarter to $103bn, however have been nonetheless bigger when put next with rivals. Alastair Borthwick, chief monetary officer, signalled that among the money administration strikes have been associated to elevated scrutiny of banks’ bond holdings following SVB’s failure.

“Money is easier to know,” stated Borthwick. “It provides us extra choices throughout a interval of volatility.”

BofA shares slid 1 per cent to only below $30 a share in late-morning commerce.

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