Bank of America posts solid Q3 2018 results, digital usage continues to grow

Maria Nikolova

The consumer banking segment registered 25.9 million active mobile banking users, up 10% from the year-ago quarter.

Bank of America has earlier today published its key financial and operating metrics for the third quarter of 2018, with consumer banking marking continued growth in digital usage.

The consumer banking segment saw net income increase $1 billion, or 49%, from a year earlier, to $3.1 billion, driven by strong operating leverage of 10%. Revenue increased $629 million, or 7%, to $9.4 billion in the quarter to end-September 2018.

The segment marked 25.9 million active mobile banking users, up 10% from the equivalent quarter in 2017, whereas digital sales climbed and now account for 23% of all Consumer Banking sales. Mobile channel usage is up 17% from the year-ago quarter.

The bank is adding mobile digital identity functions, such as biometrics, that will integrate across channels, including call centers.

In June this year, for instance, Merrill Lynch introduced new mobile app features that aim to make it easier for clients to manage their finances. Merrill Lynch clients got the ability to use their Merrill Lynch mobile app to scan and send paper documents to their financial advisors. The new scanning feature uses the device’s camera to capture images of each page and converts them into a single PDF file. The list of new features also includes a spending and budgeting tool; the ability to view transactional activity for Bank of America deposit and card accounts; real-time money transfers with Zelle®; FICO score visibility; as well as access to seven years’ worth of statements and documents.

Brian Moynihan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented the robust results for the third quarter of 2018, noting the bank’s “high-tech, high-touch approach continues to drive both client satisfaction and efficiencies”.

“More than 3 million users have accessed Erica, an AI virtual assistant, since its April rollout, and nearly a quarter of deposit transactions this quarter were performed via mobile device. We also have opened 53 financial centers and renovated more than 400 others in the last 12 months. We continue to expand into new markets, recently opening our first financial center in Pittsburgh, and we plan to open in Salt Lake City in the coming months, with additional markets to follow. In Global Banking, deposit growth reflects GTS investments, and Global Markets profitability improved. Bank of America is helping our clients address the straightforward question of what they would like the power to do, and delivering capabilities and solutions to help them reach their goals,” said Brian Moynihan.

Across all segments, net income was up 32% year-on-year to $7.2 billion in the third quarter of 2018, on the back of continuing strong operating leverage and asset quality, as well as the benefit of tax reform. Diluted earnings per share grew 43% to $0.66. Pretax income increased 18% from the year-ago quarter to $9 billion, whereas revenue, net of interest expense, increased 4% to $22.8 billion.

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