Bank of America issued its fourth-quarter results Thursday, posting a profit after taking a loss in 2010's final three months thanks to a series of one-time gains. The Charlotte, North Carolina banking giant said it earned $2 billion, or 15 cents a share, in the three months ended December 30th, a vast improvement from its net loss of $1.2 billion in the same period a year ago. The results, which matched the expectations of analysts, included a $2.9 billion profit from the sale of a stake in China Construction Bank. The bank also benefited from a $1.2 billion gain during the quarter related to the swapping of preferred shares for common stock.
Overall revenue for BAC during the final three months of 2011 totaled $25.1 billion, an increase of 11 percent over 2011's final three months. For the full year, BofA posted a net profit of $1.45 billion, more than $3.5 billion better than its net loss of $2.24 billion in 2010. The results indicate that the bank id heading in the right direction, analysts say, after losing its ranking as the largest US bank to JP Morgan Chase last year. Bank of America's 2008 acquisition of Countrywide Financial has fueled more than $30 billion in losses for BofA, and will likely go down as one of the worst financial deals in history.
As was the case with Citigroup and JP Morgan, which reported results earlier in the week, Bank of America saw marked improvement in core consumer and corporate lending in recent months, but has struggled to turn a profit in trading and investment related businesses. The firm's Global Banking and Markets division saw revenue dip 31 percent as the unit posted a net loss of $433 million. The bank is in the process of trimming some 30,000 jobs, as it tries to reorganize its businesses in the post-recession regulatory climate. Bank of America shares were the worst performer on the Dow Jones industrial average last year, losing nearly 60 percent of their value.