Thursday, January 17, 2013

No word on Bank of America's dividend plans

Bank of America's earnings again were filled with noise. Here are a couple other things executives discussed.

No word on dividend. CEO Brian Moynihan did not give any detail into what the bank asked the Federal Reserve as far as dividend increases or stock buybacks this year, but he did say the bank intends to return more capital to shareholders in the future. The bank's dividend has been stuck at a token 1 cent per share for more than four years. "We're in a better position this year than last year and we'll let you know once we get through the test," he said.

Fiscal cliff. Just like Wells Fargo, Bank of America said it was boosted by the "fiscal cliff" debate. Chief Financial Officer Bruce Thompson said client activity in its wealth management division was "quite robust" as Congress debated the automatic tax increases and spending cuts. A lot of investors decided to change up their portfolios because of a possible market sell-off and potential increase in the taxes on dividends and capital gains.

Changing habits. Mobile is still growing rapidly at Bank of America, while brick-and-mortar branch numbers continue to shrink. Bank of America is signing up 10,000 new mobile banking customers per day, Moynihan said. They now have 12 million mobile banking customers, up 8 percent from last quarter. At the same time, the bank dropped a net 62 branches, or a little more than 1 percent.