BofA takes step toward still improbable goal

October 17, 2016

The lender with $2.2 trln of assets is alone among big peers in boosting earnings last quarter - the best pre-tax showing in a decade. CEO Brian Moynihan is making progress. Yet absent big interest-rate hikes or stock buybacks, a decent return on equity remains a long way off.

Viewsroom: Coal bust, Bank earnings, Millennial media

April 15, 2016

Peabody Energy's bankruptcy gives Big Oil a glimpse into the future, while energy losses are just one issue U.S. lenders have to contend with. Plus: startup news outlets face age-old problems.

Banks can’t rely on lifeboats when Titanic sinks

April 13, 2016

JPMorgan is among five big U.S. firms that failed the living wills test. That’s because they counted on liquidity from other subsidiaries that could be cut off from providing aid when things go awry. The regulators’ message to Wall Street is clear: every man for himself will prevail in the next crisis.

Investors top courts as judges of banker conflicts

November 3, 2015

A jurist tossed claims BofA played both sides of Signet Jewelers’ bid for Zale, reversing himself after a higher tribunal said shareholder approval of a deal can override such charges. A crackdown on skewed loyalties is overdue, but owners deserve a say on when it goes too far.

Wells and JPMorgan expose BofA’s $7 bln challenge

October 14, 2015

Brian Moynihan’s bank needs to earn that much in extra annual profit for a 10 pct return on equity. Cost cuts to match Wells-type efficiency wouldn’t quite do it. And Jamie Dimon’s outfit has fair returns even on falling revenue. Only a rate hike might get BofA over the line.

Wall Street lead over EU banks looks set in stone

June 17, 2015

European trading and advisory revenue is down 30 pct since 2010 while U.S. investment banking has grown. Now Deutsche Bank and HSBC are cutting further, even more ground will be ceded. The region’s tentative recovery and capital markets project offer only slim hope of a reversal.

Volatility is the new weather for Citi and BofA

January 15, 2015

Both joined JPMorgan in blaming market ups and downs for hurting earnings. That’s rich after years of claiming conditions were too docile. Nor can it mask the deeper problem at the two banks. Even if traders do better and one-offs are stripped out, returns remain inadequate.

James Gorman can leave Brian Moynihan in slow lane

December 18, 2014

The Morgan Stanley and BofA CEOs each marks five years in charge in 2015. Neither has had an easy time of it. Gorman, though, ought to be able to lead his firm back above a 10 pct ROE – an important, if humdrum, ambition. Moynihan’s lending behemoth remains a ways off that.

BofA stuck in a low-profitability trap

July 16, 2014

Several of the bank’s businesses put in a good showing for the second quarter. Trouble is, even after aggressive cost-cutting, BofA is floundering. Strip out legal costs, tax breaks and other noise, and the firm run by Brian Moynihan can only manage a 6.4 pct return on equity.

BofA boss needs to kick it up a notch — or two

July 19, 2011

Brian Moynihan needs to kick it up a notch or two. The Bank of America boss has spent much of his 18 months in the corner office cleaning up the mess left by predecessor Ken Lewis. But despite the yeoman efforts, he has failed to persuade investors he's turning the firm around.