Bank of America profits fall 20 percent, hurt by low rates

NEW YORK (AP) — Bank of America’s earnings fell 20 percent in the second quarter as historically low interest rates make it less profitable to make loans.

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based banking giant earned $3.87 billion, or 36 cents per share, before dividends to preferred shareholders. That’s down from $4.8 billion, or 43 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.

The results beat analysts’ expectations. Analysts polled by FactSet expected the bank to earn 33 cents per share.

“We had another solid quarter in a challenging environment,” CEO Brian Moynihan said in prepared remarks.

BofA, like Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase, continued to struggle in the face of low interest rates. The bank’s profit margin on loans fell to 2.03 percent from 2.37 percent from a year earlier.

The ultra-low interest rates led the bank to take a charge of $1 billion in anticipation of more customers refinancing their mortgages at lower rates, which will mean lower earnings for the bank in the future.

Like its competitors, Bank of America saw a spike in trading revenue in the quarter following the vote by the U.K. to leave the European Union. Revenue in BofA’s global markets division rose 12 percent to $3.7 billion. Fixed income, currency and commodity revenues jumped 22 percent.

Revenue fell to $20.4 billion from $21.96 billion.

Bank of America’s stock edged up 0.5 percent in pre-market trading.

You can see the full release from Bank of America here.