It’s been, all things considered, a rather remarkably good year for banks (even if it will prove rather less remarkably good for their employees). Morgan Stanley set a quarterly record. JPMorgan, too. Even Wells Fargo managed to post a Q4 profit, and while Citigroup didn’t, a 7% decline is practically a gain when the previous quarters have been 34% and 73% drops, and it handily beat Street expectations.
The same, technically, can be said of Bank of America, minus the “handily” part. It’s just that, after losing 52% in the second quarter and recovering to a mere 9% drop in the third, this makes crowing about the earnings beat feel a bit hollow.
A drop in interest income helped drag down earnings at Bank of America Corp., which fell 22% in the fourth quarter…. The year-over-year profit decline was the worst showing of any big bank to report earnings so far…. Buoyant markets also benefited Bank of America’s trading arm, but not as much as its rivals.