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Edited Transcript of BAC earnings conference call or presentation 18-Apr-17 12:30pm GMT

Thomson Reuters StreetEvents

Q1 2017 Bank of America Corp Earnings Call

CHARLOTTE Apr 20, 2017 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Bank of America Corp earnings conference call or presentation Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 12:30:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Brian T. Moynihan

Bank of America Corporation - Chairman, CEO and President

* Lee McEntire

Bank of America Corporation - SVP of IR

* Paul M. Donofrio

Bank of America Corporation - CFO

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Conference Call Participants

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* Andrew Lim

Societe Generale Cross Asset Research - Equity Analyst

* Betsy Lynn Graseck

Morgan Stanley, Research Division - MD

* Brian Kleinhanzl

Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - Director

* Gerard S. Cassidy

RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst

* Glenn Paul Schorr

Evercore ISI, Research Division - Senior MD, Senior Research Analyst and Fundamental Research Analyst

* John Eamon McDonald

Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division - Senior Analyst

* Kenneth Michael Usdin

Jefferies LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Equity Research Analyst

* Marlin Lacey Mosby

Vining Sparks IBG, LP, Research Division - Director of Banking and Equity Strategies

* Matthew D. O'Connor

Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - MD in Equity Research

* Saul Martinez

UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - MD and Analyst

* Steven Joseph Chubak

Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division - VP

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Good day, everyone, and welcome to today's Bank of America First Quarter Earnings Announcement Conference Call. (Operator Instructions) Please note this call may be recorded. (Operator Instructions)

It is now my pleasure to turn today's program over to Mr. Lee McEntire. Please go ahead, sir.

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Lee McEntire, Bank of America Corporation - SVP of IR [2]

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Thank you. Good morning. Thanks to everybody for joining us this morning for the first quarter 2017 results. Hopefully, everybody's had a chance to review our earnings release documents that were available on our website.

Before I turn the call over to Brian and Paul, let me remind you we may make some forward-looking statements. For further information on those, please refer to either our earnings release documents, our website or our SEC filings.

With that, I'm pleased to turn it over to Brian Moynihan, our Chairman and CEO, for some opening comments before Paul Donofrio, our CFO, goes through the details. Take it away, Brian.

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Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America Corporation - Chairman, CEO and President [3]

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Thank you, Lee, and good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining our first quarter results.

I'm going to begin on Slide 2, and first, this quarter is another solid example of driving responsible growth at Bank of America. My teammates continue to deliver for customers around the world, and not many companies have the resources we have to help our clients drive the global economy.

But with that, we understand responsibility comes with doing this, and we do it in a responsible way. Responsible growth is driving more sustainable returns for you as shareholders, also. This quarter, we produced strong revenue growth. We drove cost savings that offset higher revenue-related cost, and we managed risk well, and we returned more capital to you, our shareholders, through dividends and increased repurchase of shares, than any period since the crisis.

Turning to Slide 3. Our company produced earnings of $4.9 billion after tax in the first quarter of 2017. Those earnings were up 40% compared to the first quarter of last year, driven by 700 basis points of operating leverage. Revenue rose 7%, and we managed to keep overall expenses flat.

Our earnings per share were $0.41 per share. On a diluted basis, that was up 46%. This is the fourth quarter in a row we've exceeded $0.40 of EPS per share. We did that in quarter 1 despite $1.4 billion of annual retirement-eligible incentives and seasonally elevated payroll tax costs. And importantly, we have done this in a responsible manner, not reaching for growth outside of our established risk and customer framework, and we achieved this in an economy which continues to grow in the 1.5% to 2% range.

On a year-over-year basis, our average deposits were up over $58 billion. Average loans were up $21 billion, and sales and traded revenues, excluding DVA, were up 23% with better client activity. We saw $29 billion in long-term asset under management flows this quarter within our wealth management business. Asset quality remains strong with a provision expense of $835 million. Net charge-offs were down 13% from the first quarter of 2016 but were modestly up from the fourth quarter of '16 as expected from the normal seasonality, especially in consumer credit cards.

Regarding progress against long-term metrics, the first task the company had many years ago was to become stabilized, then it was to reduce our legacy costs and simplify the place, and then we drove towards sustainability of our results. Once results became more sustainable, we pushed towards generating return on tangible common equity above our cost of capital. We've now shown that we have a return on tangible common equity in the double digits the last 4 quarters. And keep in mind that we have been doing this while our capital continues to build. The next step is to push that towards our 12% target.

This quarter, our return on tangible common equity was 10%, where our return on assets was 88 basis points. These are reported numbers. The efficiency ratio was 67%. These figures reflect solid progress in this quarter against our long-term targets but are even closer if you were to allocate the seasonal aspects of the retirement-eligible compensation costs and elevated payroll tax expenses across the years as just opposed to putting it all in the first quarter.

And even though quarter 1 is typically a good capital markets quarter for us, if you just spread those costs, you'll see that across all the quarters, the metrics this quarter would have been reflecting an efficiency ratio of nearer 62%, a return on assets nearly 100 basis points and a return on tangible common equity of 12%. So simply put, we're getting there.

On Slide 4, as I mentioned, the key to profit building in this environment is to drive good core customer growth and revenue while controlling our costs to drive operating leverage. We have established record for the past -- we have an established record for the past several years of producing quarterly operating leverage on a year-over-year basis.

This quarter, you can see on the Slide 4, that our revenue growth on a year-over-year basis across each of our business segments. We're also able to hold the expenses overall in the company flat through the careful management of cost. As you can see in this slide, that's 700 basis points of operate leverage for the total company.

Some of our businesses, like our consumer business, have been driving operating leverage consistently for many years in a row now. Some, like our Global Banking business, are using operating leverage to drive the company to the best line of business efficiency ratio among our businesses. Other businesses continue to have leverage opportunities that are becoming more clear. This is the case in our wealth management or our Global Markets businesses.

As we turn to Slide 5, you can see the line of business results. Each business improved their efficiency ratios. Each line of business reported returns well above the firm's cost of capital.

Consumer Banking continued its strong performance and transformation, produced $1.9 billion in after-tax earnings this quarter, growing 7%. And on a pretax, pre-provision basis, PPNR, which excludes the prior year's sizable reserve release, the PPNR was up 17% year-over-year. The efficiency ratio in this business was down 500 basis points to 53%.

Global Wealth and Investment Management improved earnings 4%, earning $770 million after tax, improving its profit margin to 27%. This is a new record for the business.

Our Global Banking business produced a record revenue quarter led by strong Investment Banking results, and that generated $1.7 billion in after-tax earnings. It remains our most efficient operating business at 44%.

Lastly, our Global Markets business earned $1.3 billion in after-tax earnings, generating a 15% return on its allocated capital. Improved performance in sales and trading revenue combined with strong expense discipline that drove those results.

Our Other category shows a loss, driven mostly by the $1 billion in first quarter FAS 123 costs and related personnel taxes, which gets allocated across the business segments throughout the year. But the reduction in losses year-over-year was driven by improved operating costs in the company and lower litigation expense.

As you'll see from the slides Paul will walk you through later, our businesses have important leadership positions across the board. We believe they have room to grow both market share by deepening relationships with existing customers and by winning customers from the competition.

Overall, I'm pleased with the results this quarter. We grew the top line, we grew the bottom line, and we did it the right way, all while making significant investments in people, technology and more capabilities for our customers. And all that will bode well for future growth.

While many of you might focus on rates and our leverage to rising rates, note that the $1.5 billion in year-over-year revenue growth is split 40% for NII, which is driven by rates and by also the growth in loan and deposit balances, and the other 60% was driven through noninterest revenue.

As you know, we remain focused on things we know we can control and drive. We maintained our discipline on both expenses and pricing. Our rates paid has remained steady at 9 basis points on deposits while, at the same time, we have grown those deposits 5% year-over-year or $58 billion.

On lending activity, there's been a lot of discussion regarding a slowdown. In our core middle market business, representing a broad base of American companies, our business loans grew 7% year-over-year. In our smallest -- smaller business segments, business banking and small business, we were up 3%. And small business had the best production quarter in its history.

We assisted our markets clients with their financing needs, which also put capital in the system for economic growth. All this growth occurred in a sub-2% GDP growth environment. Our clients stand ready, they're engaged, and they're ready to grow faster as the economy continues to grow and improve.

Now let me turn it over to Paul to talk -- go through the other details about the quarter. Paul?

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [4]

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Thanks, Brian. I will start with the balance sheet on Page 6. Overall, end-of-period assets increased $60 billion from Q4. The growth was fairly evenly split between 2 elements: First, we saw higher trading-related assets in Global Markets business with incremental customer activity following a seasonal slowdown at the end of Q4; secondly, we had higher cash levels driven by seasonal deposit growth, primarily from tax refunds.

Deposits rose $55 billion or 5% from Q1 '16 and are up $11 billion from Q4. Q1 deposit growth was primarily driven by customer tax refunds in our consumer business. Loans on an end-of-period basis were steady with Q4 as solid commercial growth was offset by seasonal declines in credit card and runoff of legacy noncore loans.

Lastly, common equity increased $1.3 billion compared to Q4 as $4.4 billion in net income available to common was reduced by $3 billion and capital returned to shareholders through dividends and net share repurchases.

Global liquidity sources increased in the quarter, driven by higher deposit flows and bank funding. We remain well compliant with fully phased-in U.S. LCR requirements. Book value per share rose 5% from Q1 '16 to $24.36.

Turning to regulatory metrics and focusing on the advanced approach. Our CET1 transition ratio under Basel III ended the quarter at 11%. On a fully phased-in basis compared to Q4 the CET1 ratio improved 20 basis points to 11% and remains well above our 2019 requirement of 9.5%.

CET1 capital increased $1.6 billion to $164 billion, driven by earnings and the utilization of deferred tax assets offset by return of capital. The ratio also benefited from an $11 billion -- excuse me, a $14 billion decline in RWA, driven by lower exposure in our Global Markets business, lower card exposure and legacy asset runoff.

We also provide our capital metrics under the standardized approach, which remains relevant for CCAR comparison purposes. Here, our CET1 ratio is 10 basis points higher at 11.6%. Supplementing leverage ratios both for parent and bank continued to exceed U.S. regulatory minimums that take effect in 2018.

Turning to Slide 7 and on an average basis. Total loans were up $21 billion or 2% from Q1 '16. Loan growth in our business segments was primarily offset by continued runoff in noncore Consumer Real Estate loans in All Other. Year-over-year loans in All Other were down $23 billion. On the other hand, loans in our business segments were up $44 billion or 6%.

Consumer Banking led with 8% growth. We continue to see good growth in residential mortgages although our originations slowed in Q1 '17, given the increase in mortgage rates in Q4 and Q1. We saw growth in credit card and vehicle loans. Home equity pay-downs continue to outpace originations.

In wealth management, we saw a year-over-year growth of 7%, driven by residential mortgages. Global Banking loans were up 4% year-over-year. Loans in our commercial business grew 6% year-over-year despite a slight reduction in commercial real estate. We think these growth rates are responsible, given the economy grew around 2% year-over-year.

Middle market revolver utilization rates have now climbed back to record levels. On the bottom of the chart, note the $58 billion, 5% year-over-year growth in average deposits, which is driven by 10% growth in Consumer Banking.

Turning to asset quality on Slide 8. The stability of our asset quality and loss trends reflects many years now of disciplined client selection and strong underwriting practices that are foundational to our responsible growth and through-the-cycle performance.

Credit quality remains strong. Total net charge-offs of $934 million or 42 basis points on average loans increased slightly from Q4 due to expected seasonality in our credit card products but were down 13% from Q1 '16. Provision expense of $835 million rose $61 million from Q4 but was down $162 million from Q1 '16.

Net reserve releases in the quarter of $99 million was fairly consistent with Q4 and the year-ago quarter. Note that Q1 '16 included a significant increase in reserves in Global Banking for energy exposures. That was mostly offset by releases in consumer reserves in that quarter.

Our reserve coverage ratios -- excuse me, our reserve coverage remains strong with an allowance-to-loan ratio of 125 basis points and a coverage level 3x our annualized charge-offs. NPLs and reservable criticized exposure both declined notably.

On Slide 9, we break out credit quality metrics for both our consumer and commercial portfolios. On the consumer chart, you can see the impact of the seasonal increase in credit card losses. Note that delinquency trends remain low and improved modestly from Q4. Commercial losses continue to be low.

Turning to Slide 10. Net interest income on a GAAP non-FTE basis was $11.1 billion, $11.3 billion on an FTE basis. NII improved $730 million from Q4, primarily due to higher rates. The net interest yield increased 16 basis points to 2.39% from Q4 as loan yields improved 17% while the rates we paid on deposits was flat at 9 basis points.

Q4 and Q1 increases in long-end interest rates resulted in slower prepaids and less premium amortization on our securities portfolio this quarter. Increases in the short end in terms of interest rates caused our variable rate assets to reprice higher while we maintain good pricing discipline on deposits. We also benefited from normal seasonality in Q1 in our leasing business.

And in addition, we benefited from less unfavorable hedge ineffectiveness as compared to Q4. But one can think of the reduction in the hedge ineffectiveness as roughly offset by 2 fewer days in the quarter.

Now as Brian mentioned, we remain disciplined around deposit pricing given the investment we have made in customer relationships through Preferred Rewards and other deepening activities.

So your natural next question is what should shareholders expect for Q2 with respect to NII given the March rate hike by the Fed? Based on our models and assumptions, we believe NII should continue to improve, but the improvement is expected to be much more modest than Q4 to Q1 driven by a number of factors, most notably, the increase in long-term rates in Q1 -- in Q4 and Q1 drove a significant portion of the Q1 improvement.

In terms of Q2, think about it this way. Given where we are today, with the Fed funds rate hike in March and the long end down since the end of the first quarter, I would focus you on our asset sensitivity disclosures.

As of 3/31, an instantaneous 100 basis point parallel increase in rates is estimated to increase NII by $3.3 billion over the subsequent 12 months, which is consistent with our position at year end. Nearly 3/4 or $2.5 billion of this modeling is driven by our sensitivity to short-end rates. Given a 1-month LIBOR rise of about 25 basis points with the March hike and the long end down, we should focus on the $2.5 billion short-end benefit. Dividing that by 4 gets you a quarterly run rate of roughly $600 million for a 100 basis point shock. Assuming it's only 25 basis points instead of 100 would get you to approximately $150 million benefit in the quarter.

From there, we would expect continued modest growth in NII in the second half of 2017 assuming modest growth in loans and deposits and rates at least above where they are today.

Turning to Slide 11. Noninterest expense was $14.8 billion. We were able to hold expense flat compared to Q1 '16 despite 9% growth in noninterest income and several other expense headwinds. The efficiency ratio improved 400 basis points year-over-year. And if you allocate Q1's $1.4 billion of incentive for retirement-eligible employees and the seasonally elevated payroll tax across all 4 quarters, then the efficiency ratio would be 62%.

Our company-wide simplification efforts and the $110 million in lower litigation costs offset a number of higher expenses year-over-year, including: $150 million of higher incentives for annual retirement-eligible employees and seasonally elevated payroll taxes; $190 million of higher incentives associated with the revenue growth across wealth management, Global Banking and Global Markets; and $160 million of higher expenses due to changes in our share price with respect to accounting for employee stock-based awards. The year-over-year swing is caused by the share price decline in Q1 '16 compared to an increase in Q1 '17. We also had $100 million in higher quarterly costs for FDIC assessments. Finally, note that employees are down 2% from Q1 '16, and we continue to add client-facing associates.

Turning to the business segments and starting with Consumer Banking on Slide 12. Consumer Banking had another solid quarter. This segment produced $1.9 billion in earnings, growing 7% year-over-year and returning 21% on allocated capital. Note that, that 21% return is on $37 billion of allocated capital, which is an increase of $3 billion this quarter given growth in their loans and deposits.

On a pretax pre-provision basis, which adjusts for the sizable release of reserves in Q1 '16, earnings rose $559 million or 17%. Year-over-year, average loans grew 8%, average deposits grew 10% and Merrill Edge brokerage assets grew 21%. That drove revenue growth of 5% led by a 9% increase in NII from Q1 '16.

Note that the rate paid on deposits in this business declined 1% -- excuse me, declined 1 basis point year-over-year to 3 basis points as a result of disciplined pricing. Noninterest income included improvements in service charges and a small increase in card income that was more than offset by a decline in mortgage banking income. The decline in mortgage banking income was due to both lower volumes from less refinancings as well as our strategy of holding more of our production on our balance sheet versus selling it to the agencies.

Through continued efforts to drive down costs, the efficiency ratio improved nearly 500 basis points to 53%. Cost reductions also helped drive the cost of deposits down 10 basis points from Q1 '16. Consumer Banking credit quality remains solid, with the net charge-off ratio declining 4 basis points to 121 basis points.

Turning to Slide 13 and looking at key trends. First, as usual, in the upper left, the stats are a reminder of our strong competitive position; second, as we point out each quarter, while we report NII and noninterest income separately, our strategy remains focused on relationship deepening and growing total revenue while improving operating leverage through expense discipline.

So as you review the top boxes on this page, note that we drove 8% operating leverage this quarter. Also, note that our relationship deepening is improving NII and balance growth while holding the fee lines flat as we reward customers for doing more business with us.

Average deposits continued their strong growth, up $57 billion or 10% year-over-year, outpacing the industry. Importantly, 50% of these deposits are checking accounts, and we estimate that 89% of these checking accounts are the primary accounts of households. This means these are operational accounts used to pay mortgages and car payments and other bills. So outflows chasing rates is less likely in our view. We also believe these deposit accounts offer clients significant value in terms of transparency, convenience and safety, which also means they are less likely to move their relationships.

With respect to card, spending levels and new issuances were solid. However, the industry's trend of increasing rewards continues to mitigate our overall card revenue growth. Digitalization and other productivity improvements, as well as lower fraud costs, continue to lead expenses lower.

Expenses declined 3% from Q1 '16 despite increases in the FDIC assessment rate and charges. Focusing on client balances on the bottom left, you can see the success we continue to have growing deposits, loans and brokerage assets.

Merrill Edge continues to attract customers who want a self-service investment option as accounts are up 11% from Q1 '16. We now have more than 1.7 million households that leverage our financial solution advisers and self-directed investment platform. This quarter also included the successful rollout of Merrill Edge Guided Investing for clients who want some advice from our CAO office but don't desire a fully advised relationship.

With respect to loans, residential mortgages continued to lead our growth. As expected, the sudden rise in long-term rates in late 2016 caused a noticeable decline in mortgage production from Q1. While mortgage originations was down, we continue to hold more of our loans on the balance sheet. In Q1, we retained about 80% of first-mortgage production on the balance sheet. We believe retaining these mortgages will provide better economics over time, plus retention deepens our relationship with these customers.

Consumer vehicle lending remains solid, up 12% year-over-year, and we continue to remain focused on prime and superprime borrowers. Our net charge-offs at 38 basis points remain not only low, but also lowest among peers. U.S. consumer card average balances grew 3% year-over-year, and spending on our credit cards was up 8% compared to Q1 '16.

Turning to Slide 14. We remain a leader in digital banking and we continue to see momentum in digital banking adoption. Given the rollout of Zelle this quarter, Bank of America customers can now use their online app to transfer money, request money and split bills person-to-person with more ease than before. While still in its infancy, customers sent $8 billion in payments through our person-to-person apps in Q1, which is up 25% year-over-year.

Importantly, as digital banking adoption rises, particularly around transaction processing and self-service, we expect to see continued improved efficiency and customer satisfaction. Mobile devices now account for 1 out of every 5 deposit transactions and represent the volume of nearly 1,000 financial centers. Sales on digital devices continue to grow and now represent 22% of total sales.

Still, with all the digital activity, we have not forgotten and remain focused on the 800,000 people walking into our financial centers across the U.S. on a daily basis. Many of these customers still use our branches to transact, but many others use our branches as financial destinations, where they can learn more about products and services, work face to face with a specialized professional and generally improve their financial lives. We want to encourage that, and that's why we have an extensive branch refurbishing underway. By the way, that's also helping increase customer satisfaction.

We're also building new centers in markets where we have never had financial centers but where we have presence across Global Banking, wealth management or both. These markets include MSAs like Denver, Minneapolis and Indianapolis.

In addition, we are testing smart centers, which utilize video-assist -- video-assisted ATMs and other very [ useful ] conferencing capabilities in regions where it makes sense.

Turning to Slide 15. Let's review Global Wealth and Investment Management, which produced earnings of $770 million and record pretax operating margin of 27% while returning 22% on allocated capital. These solid results were produced in a period of change for the industry as firms and clients anticipate new fiduciary standards and other market dynamics, such as the shift between active and passive investing.

Net interest income rose 3%, driven by loan growth. Year-over-year, noninterest income also rose 3% as 8% higher asset management fees were partially offset by lower transactional revenue. Year-over-year, while total revenue grew 3%, expenses grew 2%, creating an important but modest operating leverage. Also note the $29 billion of long-term AUM flows this quarter, reflecting strong client activity as well as the continuing shift from IRA brokerage to AUM.

Moving to Slide 16. We continue to see overall solid client engagement. Client balances climbed to nearly $2.6 trillion, driven by higher market values, solid long-term AUM flows and continued loan growth. Average deposits of $257 billion were flat compared to Q4 while ending deposits were down, primarily reflecting some movement to investment assets. Average loans of $148 billion were up 7% year-over-year. Loan growth remains concentrated in Consumer Real Estate.

Turning to Slide 17. Global Banking had record revenue this quarter, up 11% year-over-year led by Investment Banking activity. Revenue growth, coupled with expense management, improved the efficiency ratio 500 basis points to 44%.

In addition, provision expense of $17 million in Q1 '17 was more closely aligned with charge-offs while Q1 '16 included approximately $500 million in reserve increases for energy exposure. This resulted in a 58% year-over-year improvement in earnings to $1.7 billion.

Global Banking continues to drive loan growth within its risk and client frameworks, albeit at a slower pace. Total Investment Banking fees for the company were $1.6 billion, which was up 37% from Q1 '16. By comparison, overall industry fee pools were up 19% year-over-year.

A number of items to note given the strong performance. First, this was a record Q1 in terms of revenue from IB fees. Client underwriting activity in the capital markets was quite strong. We also earned record M&A fees this quarter with involvement in 6 of the top 10 completed transactions.

Debt underwriting was up 38% year-over-year led by strong performance in leveraged finance. Equity underwriting was up 65% year-over-year. Expenses decreased from Q1 '16 despite higher revenue-related incentives, higher FDIC insurance costs and costs associated with adding 340 new relationship managers over the past couple of years.

Return on allocated capital increased 18% -- excuse me, increased to 18% despite adding $3 billion of allocated capital this quarter.

Looking at trends on Slide 18 and comparing to Q1 last year. Average loans were up $14 billion or 4%. Growth was driven by our commercial bank, where lending was up 6% despite subdued real estate lending. As Brian said, we feel good about this growth rate given 2% GDP environment. We stand ready to support clients who want to borrow directly from us or tap the capital markets. One of the benefits of our universal banking model is our ability to deliver for clients across a complete product set and geographies.

Average deposits increased 2% from Q1 '16. As expected, we saw a seasonal decline in deposits from Q4. We remain mindful of the LCR rules as we grow deposits.

Switching to Global Markets on Slide 19. The business had a strong quarter, which once again benefited from the breadth of our product and geographic footprint with leadership positions in a number of areas. This quarter saw strong issuer activity and tighter spreads across credit products, which played well to our strength in mortgage and corporate credit. The business improved operating leverage with revenue, excluding DVA, growing 27%, while expenses increased modestly after adjusting for litigation recovery in Q1 '16.

Global Markets earned $1.3 billion and returned 15% on allocated capital. This includes a reduction of capital of $2 billion given the great work the team has done optimizing the balance sheet and reducing RWA in the past year. It is worth noting that we achieved these results with a lower VaR and 6% fewer people than last year. With respect to expenses, Q1 '16 litigation included a sizable litigation recovery. Excluding litigation, year-over-year expenses were up 2% while revenue grew 19%.

Moving to trends on Slide 20 and focusing on the components of our sales and trading performance. Sales and trading revenue of $4 billion, excluding net DVA, was up 23% from Q1 '16. Excluding net DVA and versus Q1 '16, FICC sales and trading of $2.9 billion increased 29%. Within FICC, the year-over-year improvement was driven by improved client activity in corporate credit and mortgage products. Equity sales and trading was up 7% year-over-year to $1.1 billion despite weaker cash equity volumes. We saw increased activity in Europe and Asia across all products. We also are beginning to see the benefits of deploying additional balance sheet to meet the financing needs of clients.

On Slide 21, we show All Other, which reported a net loss of $834 million. This was an improvement from Q1 '16, driven by lower litigation and mortgage servicing costs. The only other thing worth pointing out here is a reminder that this is where we book the annual retirement-eligible incentive and elevated Q1 payroll tax before they get allocated out to the line of business throughout the year.

The effective tax rate for the quarter was 26% and included approximately $200 million of tax benefit from the deductions on deliveries of share-based awards exceeding the related compensation costs. A recent change in accounting rules requires booking this difference to the tax income expense instead of directly to equity. The effective tax rate would have been 29.4% excluding this benefit, which is in line with our expectation of approximately 30% for the rest of the year.

Okay. A few points -- a few summary points as I wrap up. This quarter shows the value of our businesses as rates begin to rise and as we experience increased capital markets activity. For years, we have stayed focused on growing responsibly, including staying within our risk and client frameworks and making our growth more sustainable by simplifying the company and improving efficiency.

In Q1, consistent with this strategy, we stuck to our strong underwriting standards while growing loans and trading assets. Asset quality remains strong and net charge-offs low. We grew deposits while managing deposit rate paid. We grew AUM while helping clients adapt to a changing industry. When client activity picked up, we were ready with a breadth of capabilities to raise capital and manage risk in major markets all around the world. We continue to invest in new technology and capabilities while adding sales professionals in certain businesses. We lowered non-personnel expenses, offsetting some seasonal and other expense headwinds this quarter. We created operating leverage in each of our business segments. And we returned more capital to shareholders than in any quarter since the financial crisis.

These results tell us that responsible growth is working, with more to come as the economy continues to improve. Many of you have been waiting patiently for us to approach our long-term targets. I hope you noted that if one allocates annual retirement-eligible incentives and seasonally elevated payroll tax throughout the year, we are basically at our return targets this quarter. We know we have more work to do to be consistently achieving all our targets, but we have more confidence than ever that responsible growth will get us there.

With that, we'll open it up to Q&A.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) And we'll take our first question from Glenn Schorr with Evercore ISI.

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Glenn Paul Schorr, Evercore ISI, Research Division - Senior MD, Senior Research Analyst and Fundamental Research Analyst [2]

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First, a very quickie. Did you mention what NPLs you sold during the quarter? And if there was any P&L impact?

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [3]

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Small and small. Small sell, small impact.

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Glenn Paul Schorr, Evercore ISI, Research Division - Senior MD, Senior Research Analyst and Fundamental Research Analyst [4]

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No problem. I'm curious, I think we've all taken note of the responsible growth, what you've done, heard your comments on it relative to the economy. I'm curious, as we watch the industry loan growth come down for a bunch of different reasons, can B of A continue on this path? I don't want to say irregardless of what the industry backdrop is, but can it buck the trend of the declining loan growth that we're seeing in most other places?

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Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America Corporation - Chairman, CEO and President [5]

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Glenn, it's Brian. I think at the end of the day, banks reflect the economy and help make the economy happen. So we've been able to grow loans 5%, 6% in the core, so the middle market segment, 7% actually year-over-year. Credit card's been picking up a little bit, home equity is strong, residential mortgage down. So if you look at it overall, we've been out -- able to outgrow the economy, but we're going to be dependent upon the economy keep growing. But what we've shown you across the last couple of years, with the discipline we have, are driving deeper penetration in our customers, working hard on our relationships even with repositioning portfolios that you can see in some of the slides and/or making sure that we maintain great discipline, we've been able to grow the mid-single digits, as we've told you, against the backdrop of an economy growing at 1.5% to 2%. If that grows faster, we'll grow faster. If that stays in that range, we should be able to continue to grow at that level.

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Glenn Paul Schorr, Evercore ISI, Research Division - Senior MD, Senior Research Analyst and Fundamental Research Analyst [6]

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Okay. Maybe on the credit front. As you've mentioned, credit's awesome in most places, and I saw criticized credit came down with energy improving. Are there any areas that are criticized credits increasing, like something like retail?

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [7]

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No. Credit looks good across the board, and it's performing as we model and expect.

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Glenn Paul Schorr, Evercore ISI, Research Division - Senior MD, Senior Research Analyst and Fundamental Research Analyst [8]

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Okay, last little one. Zelle -- you mentioned the increase in Zelle activity. Do you make money on that? Or is that mostly a customer retention tool?

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Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America Corporation - Chairman, CEO and President [9]

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I think, Glenn, think about it this way, is the way people pay each other. So you -- we don't charge for it. It's just a service as part of a core DDA account, just like checks or just like an ATM card would be to withdraw. It's just more efficient for the customer, more efficient for the -- for us, too, ultimately, because the payback will be taking cash out of the system. And so year-to-date, we're up about -- even before Zelle is announced, for the first quarter, P-to-P payments at Bank of America are up 25% first quarter of '17 versus first quarter of '16. So this is growing fast and will continue to grow. And what we'll do, we'll swap out other payment forms which cost us more to execute, but it's free to the customer.

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Operator [10]

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And we'll take our next question from John McDonald from Bernstein.

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John Eamon McDonald, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division - Senior Analyst [11]

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Paul, just a clarification regarding the second quarter framework you provided for net interest income. Does the $150 million potential bump, based on the disclosures, include the benefit of loan growth? Or was that just the rate impact? And could it be a little better if loan growth continues?

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [12]

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Well, the loan growth is embedded in our 100 basis point shock. So theoretically, it includes it. But if loan growth's a little bit better than we think, it could be better; if it's a little lower, it would be less. That's one of the variables that we have to think about when we think about NII growth.

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Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America Corporation - Chairman, CEO and President [13]

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John, just one of the things to keep in mind there is remember, we just capitalized or put in the run rate, for lack of a better term, $600 million-plus, fourth quarter to first quarter, and this is on top of that, too. That first benefit as you think for the year, that benefit is now locked in and moves its way through the system.

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John Eamon McDonald, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division - Senior Analyst [14]

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Got it, got it. So that's incremental to the 1Q print. Okay. And then can you remind us what kind of deposit repricing beta you assume in the disclosures, Paul?

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [15]

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Sure. So in a 100 basis point rise on interest-bearing deposits, and remember, we have a large amount of noninterest-bearing deposits, but on interest-bearing deposits, we're kind of low 50-ish for that full 100 basis point rise. As you can expect, the first 25, 50 of the 100 is going to be a little bit different than the second 25 or 50, and that's about as much that I'd want to give you given the competitiveness around this topic.

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John Eamon McDonald, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division - Senior Analyst [16]

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Okay, and a separate question on capital. With the CET1 at 11% now versus the 2019 requirement of 9.5%, what kind of buffers are you thinking of holding? And what level of CET1 feels right -- like, the right target for you, longer term?

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [17]

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So with respect to buffers, I wouldn't want to give an exact number for all sorts of reasons. We put a lot of thought into how we manage our capital and liability structure, including buffers. Having said that, we have 150 basis points of cushion right now on fully phased-in minimums and a lot of time between now and 2019. So maybe we'll talk more about it as we get a little closer. But right now, we feel good where we are.

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Operator [18]

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And we'll take our next question from Steven Chubak with Nomura Instinet.

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Steven Joseph Chubak, Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division - VP [19]

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So just wanted to kick things off with a question on the 2018 expense target of $53 billion that you guys had outlined on previous calls. Can you just remind us what the revenue growth assumptions were underlying that target? And just given some of the acceleration that we've seen in fee income growth and the higher incentive comp, is that still an achievable target in your view?

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Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America Corporation - Chairman, CEO and President [20]

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The revenue growth assumptions were like we said. If long term, we believe we can grow faster than GDP growth and that's embedded in those assumptions. I think a way for you, Steve, to think about it is look at the Global Markets year-over-year. And what you see there is with that substantial rise in revenue, the expense growth absent -- last year, we had a credit and litigation, this year we had an expense. So you had a pretty good reversal there. Absent that, it was 2% growth. And as Paul said, it had 6% less people. Comp expenses were up a bit even though revenue was up quite a bit. So we can manage against that with the inevitable thing that if revenue grows faster, we might have a little bit more expense pressure. But I think you and I will be very happy to see that happen.

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [21]

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Look, the only thing I would add, just for the record, is when we gave that guidance around this time last year, we specifically said it was based upon the economic environment at that time, and that if things got better, we'd have to adjust. If things got worse, we'd have to adjust. Having said all that -- that's just for the record, having said all that, we're still focused and comfortable we can get to the $53 billion, approximately $53 billion for full year 2018. That's what we said.

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Steven Joseph Chubak, Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division - VP [22]

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Got it, and then just one question on the provision outlook. Just given the continued favorable credit and delinquency trends, how should we be thinking about the trajectory in the near term? Is a run rate of, I guess, around $850 million, plus or minus, a reasonable target?

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [23]

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The way I would think about it in Q2, provisions should roughly match net charge-offs. But remember, we're bouncing around the bottom with respect to net charge-offs in commercial. So a material credit can move the needle one way or the other. Absent that caution, we will build as we grow loan balances. But we should expect to see that offset, perhaps, by further runoff of noncore Consumer Real Estate, and we have a high energy reserve.

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Steven Joseph Chubak, Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division - VP [24]

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And just one final question on capital return, just touching on John's last question. How should we be thinking about the capital return trajectory given the 150 basis points of excess? And I'm also wondering whether some of the recent rhetoric from the regulators suggesting a disinclination of sorts to have a qualitative CCAR failure, whether that informs your approach at all in terms of future payouts.

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Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America Corporation - Chairman, CEO and President [25]

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I think we have been building our capital [ ask ] year-over-year, and you should expect us continue to do that since we have both a strong cushion under CCAR. We'll see with this year's results, we don't know yet obviously. But from last year, just extrapolating. And also, our start point is higher and our run rate of earnings is now very consistent. So capital return's part of our story, and we'll continue to pursue it.

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [26]

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We've made progress every year, you've seen that. And I would remind everybody that we tapped the de minimis last year as well. So with the stability of our earnings, with the progress we're making on CCAR, as Brian said, we hope to continue to make progress.

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Operator [27]

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And we'll take our next question from Ken Usdin with Jefferies.

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Kenneth Michael Usdin, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Equity Research Analyst [28]

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Just first clarification, just coming back to the NII commentary, does the $150 million also incorporate the extra day you get in the second quarter? Because that's usually pretty meaningful for you guys.

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [29]

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Yes, I would think about the extra day as kind of being offset by the seasonality we have in Q1 for leasing.

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Kenneth Michael Usdin, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Equity Research Analyst [30]

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Okay. So you've got -- you're saying you got a benefit in the first and that kind of washes to the second. So really, your net is the $150 million?

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [31]

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Yes, approximately $150 million. And as you know, there's a lot of things that go into that modeling.

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Kenneth Michael Usdin, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Equity Research Analyst [32]

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Understood. Okay, great. So on the consumer fee side, I wanted to just ask, we saw kind of a little bit of a positive turn in both card income and also in the brokerage line, which is the first time in a while we've seen both of those move the right way. Any better line of sight at this point on just the trends getting better underneath the surface? Whether it's the rewards competition or the fee capture pressures in brokerage kind of starting to get into the run rate, and we can kind of expect to see growth from here?

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [33]

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Look, we've seen modest growth in card balances. We think that should continue. We're adding new accounts. We added 1.2 million cards this quarter. Combined debit, credit spend was good year-over-year and really good recently. But as you point out, the card income line remains -- I think in terms of growth, remains muted by competition around customer rewards. I guess what I would point out and just remind everybody is that just focusing on the fee income line sort of ignores some of the key benefits of our strategy, which is to attract relatively higher-quality card customers and reward them for deepening their relationship with us. The strategy, we think, is driving incremental deposit growth and making them stickier, and that helps NII. And by the way, these customers have lower loss rates as well as reduced need to interact with call centers, so that helps us lower costs. In terms of the service line or service charges, they've shown some modest growth, driven by growth in new accounts, and we expect that probably to continue here.

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Kenneth Michael Usdin, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Equity Research Analyst [34]

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And can you just touch on brokerage?

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [35]

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You mean brokerage...

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Kenneth Michael Usdin, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Equity Research Analyst [36]

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Wealth and brokerage.

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [37]

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Yes. Well, wealth and brokerage is being driven by the long-term trend that we've been seeing with growth in AUM as transactional brokerage continues to decline. We saw that again this quarter. This quarter, we had significant growth in AUM, which offset that sort of continuing decline in brokerage. I think AUM fees were up 8% this quarter.

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Operator [38]

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And we'll take our next question from Betsy Graseck with Morgan Stanley.

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Betsy Lynn Graseck, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - MD [39]

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A couple of questions. One on the expense discussion earlier. On Page 4, you highlighted very clearly the strong operating leverage that you've got year-over-year from the various industries, various segments that you run. The question I have is, where should we expect the next leg of improvement on expenses could come from? Because one of the questions I've gotten from people today is this is fantastic operating leverage, but where are the levers to take it further?

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Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America Corporation - Chairman, CEO and President [40]

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Right. I think when we started a few years ago at $70 billion operating expenses, to bring it down to this level, it was more obvious. Betsy, now it's everywhere. It's everywhere, a little bit everywhere and a lot of hard work. So headcount generally is drifting down year-over-year at around 4,000 or 5,000 people. That gets harder, but what we're doing is taking out people and putting them into the front line in the client-facing roles, and so we're seeing that shift go on. [ You're ] continuing to work our real estate portfolio down, again, through colocations in cities. So you'll see us take 3 buildings in an area and put them in 1, and you've seen some announcement in that regard. In our data centers, we're accelerating the process that you'll -- that -- to consolidate data centers, and that helps continue to knock down the number of data centers. It takes $0.5 billion investment to -- or a $0.25 billion investment to build one, to bring it in. And so you'll see that go on. And then it's everywhere we turn, every place we look, just keep working at the pieces. But at the end of the day, continue to watch the FTE headcount numbers drift down and also how we move those around from less managers to more client-facing people and less layers in the company, which we've been after. And so it is just hard work across the board using our simplify and improve and what we call organizational health going on in our company, and we're seeing the aspects of that. That -- by the way, I think last -- in '16, to give you an example, I think we invested -- got about $400 million, $500 million in savings from some ideas, but it took us an investment of a couple hundred million dollars to get that. And so even that investment rate is important to getting the sales out. And so we're not asking you to exclude, but there's severance cost in here, there's real estate repositioning costs, all of that which actually comes down as you get further and further towards the optimization level.

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Betsy Lynn Graseck, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - MD [41]

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Okay. So that speaks to why you can continue the revenue growth but yet still bring these expenses down. Got it. Two other quick ones. One on fixed income. You mentioned that credit was a source of strength this quarter. Others have highlighted credit as a weakness. So maybe you could speak to what you're seeing in your client base that drove such a strong credit quarter in FICC.

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [42]

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Well, first I would say, look, we've been making a lot of investments in our Global Markets business across equity, across macro. Credit has always been a traditional strength of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, a lot of very strong bankers combined with strong sales and trading effort. Corporates raised money this quarter in the capital markets. We have a strong relationship. So we saw a lot of increased activity on the primary side, which helps your sales and trading on the secondary side. That's one. Two, with spreads tightening a little bit and with clients' activity picking up as they were repositioning given the change in markets, the change in spreads, again, we have strong corporate credit trading desk. We have strong special situations in credit. We have strong mortgage. And they just saw a lot of client activity given what happened in the quarter. So when -- we've often said, when client activity picks up, you're going to see this business perform. And for us, client activity was more this quarter and it showed up in our results. And again lastly, it's a breadth of products. It's significant presence and scale in every major market around the world. So it's not just the U.S. We saw activity in emerging markets around the globe. We were there for -- when our clients needed us.

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Betsy Lynn Graseck, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - MD [43]

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Okay. And then lastly, you mentioned on the call during the prepared remarks that you "remain mindful of the LCR rules as we grow deposits". Could you elaborate on your thoughts behind that?

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [44]

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Sure. Particularly on the wholesale side, there are 3 types of deposits fundamentally, 25%, 40% and 100% runoff. And as we think about serving our customers and clients, we're mindful -- very mindful of their needs, but we're also focused on maintaining those -- having deposits that are of the highest quality in terms of being able to use, to lend out to customers. So that means you've got to focus on the 25% and 40% or the more of -- the deposits that are much more operational in nature, the deposits that we know our corporate and FI clients are using to run their businesses. We're focused on growing those deposits and we're focused on helping them use those deposits to pay bills and to move their money around, to do FX, all the things you might think an individual does but just on the corporate side. Those are the types of the deposits we're focused on. We're not -- we're respectful of clients who want to give us other types of deposits, but we're having conversations about them, about the value of those and therefore what they should expect in terms of the pricing.

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Operator [45]

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And we'll take our next question from Gerard Cassidy with RBC.

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Gerard S. Cassidy, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [46]

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Brian, when you look out longer term, I mean, if you turn back the clock when the industry, before the financial crisis, typically earned 120 on assets -- or 130 basis points on assets, kind of a more normal interest rate environment, what do you see for the long -- and I know ROE is what you focus on, and we all do. But from an ROA standpoint, when everything's going right for Bank of America, your expenses are where you want them to be, the margins are where you want them to be, what kind of ROA do you think this company is capable of producing?

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Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America Corporation - Chairman, CEO and President [47]

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Well, I think, Gerard, just to focus, we've talked to you about getting at above 100 basis points, and then with the adjustments of sort of smoothing out the first quarter a little bit from the onetime or the annual expenses that occur in the first quarter, you're getting close to that. That is not a aspirational goal which we'll stop at. I mean, I think it'll improve if the rate structure continues to move up and the economy continues to grow, we'll get above that. But the first order of business is to get above -- to get to that so that we get the returns on tangible common equity and returns on equity where we want them to be. As you're thinking about that just more broadly, remember that we have, I don't know, a balance sheet of $2.3 trillion or so. And think about $500 billion basically being completely liquid assets. That is a far different cry than we were when our balance sheet sort of the high point was $2.7 trillion and we had -- probably had $200 billion or $100 billion to $200 billion of high-quality assets or whatever the moniker we'd use back then was. And that's going to knock around your yields on your balance sheet. And so we do focus on ROA in our company, we also -- because it basically is the thing that ultimately would drive ROE. But as equity builds, that ROE can be under pressure just from increases in equity. But if you think about it, the real driver of the yield on the balance sheet has more to do with the amount of assets you're carrying which are underleveraged for purposes of liquidity and safety and soundness.

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Gerard S. Cassidy, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [48]

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Right. Okay. And speaking of the lever on the equity, can you remind us what the risk-weighted assets are now for the operational risk for you guys?

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [49]

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Sure. We have $500 billion in RWA for operational risk, which is -- if I can go on a little bit, which is 1/3 approximately of the RWA of the company under the advanced approach and more RWA than we have for our credit.

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Gerard S. Cassidy, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [50]

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Very good. And then coming back to the combined payout ratio that you guys are striving for, within that, what should we envision for -- once you get your capital levels to the point where you're very comfortable with, is the dividend payout ratio of 30% to 40% a reasonable expectation down the road when things more normalize?

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Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America Corporation - Chairman, CEO and President [51]

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A couple of things. One is our capital is more than sufficient. We're very comfortable with it, with the tangible common equity ratio, Gerard. Thinking about before the crisis of 7.9% and a CET1 of 11% with a minimum of 9.5%, we're more -- we have more capital than the company needs by the different measures, whether it's a traditional market-based measure or a regulatory measure. So we're completely comfortable with that. That leads us to return more capital. You should expect our dividend payout ratio will, for the bigger companies, I think they'll be more focus of keeping that to the 30% level that's been talked about in the various rules and regulations. And if you go back 3 or 4 or 5 years ago, I spoke to that at one of our industry conferences, I think if you look across time, that level of -- if you think about that level of payout against your earnings stream, there's very low probability that you'll have real danger in the dividend -- continuing that dividend even in tough times. So our goal is never -- to keep the dividend stable and then use the excess capital to buy the stock back at around book value. We think it's a great trade.

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Gerard S. Cassidy, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [52]

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Got it. But something, Paul, just circling back to your comments about the FICC -- the strength in FICC, the client activity was strong, can you give us some color on the clients? Was it primarily investment clients or hedge -- or pension funds, hedge funds? What type of clients did you see that strength in the activity?

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [53]

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I think it was -- the only way to really classify it is really across the board. I think we have strength in all of those client sets. It was just a lot of good sales and trading activity driven by client interest in repositioning their investments, but also again, driven by (inaudible) of our clients. We just have a very broad and diverse product set in FICC, both from a product perspective and a geographic perspective. And that kind of footprint and that kind of diversity, when clients want to make changes, we're a natural call.

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Gerard S. Cassidy, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [54]

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Brian, thank you for batting clean-up and not Lead-off. It made it a lot easier for all of us today.

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Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America Corporation - Chairman, CEO and President [55]

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Okay.

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Operator [56]

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And we'll take our next question from Saul Martinez with UBS.

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Saul Martinez, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - MD and Analyst [57]

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A couple of questions. First, can you comment on the sustainability, broadly, of your returns in your markets and banking businesses? 15% return on allocated equity in markets, 18% banking despite the fact that you increased your capital allocation there. Obviously, if you can sustain those kinds of returns, it goes a long way towards helping you hit your 12% ROTCE targets on a sustainable basis. So just can you comment broadly on how confident you are to -- in your ability to, say, hit sort of mid-teen returns in those businesses?

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [58]

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We have been getting, in Global Markets, a double-digit return now for a number of quarters. It's been in the 10-ish, 11% range for a number of quarters. So we feel like, in Global Markets, we've made a tremendous amount of progress in improving returns. In Global Banking -- and remember, this quarter where they did 15%. But this quarter, I think we had a very strong quarter in sales and trading. Our performance in Global Markets is going to be a direct result of client activity, as we say every quarter. So when client activity is lower, our results will be lower, but through a number of different quarters now with varying amounts of client activity, I think we've been able to get at 10% or more return on equity. So that's how I'd answer it from that perspective. In Global Banking, again, those returns are somewhat dependent on client activity in Investment Banking, but there, I think the Global Banking segment is less volatile with respect to returns tied to the Investment Banking fee pool in any given quarter. We have a diverse product set across treasury service, traditional corporate banking products and Investment Banking products. And then from a client perspective, we're the full spectrum: Small, medium-sized and large global companies. So there, I would expect us to be able to main those -- maintain that return level.

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Saul Martinez, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - MD and Analyst [59]

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Okay, that's helpful. Yes?

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Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America Corporation - Chairman, CEO and President [60]

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The thing I'd add to that is if you think about what we did, we took Global Banking because we think that is an integrated business, whether it's corporate Investment Banking with both the corporate side and Investment Banking side or middle market banking, what we call Global Commercial Banking, again, with Investment Banking capital markets behind obviously less than GCIB. We split that out to show you that, that business -- many years ago, we broke Global Banking away from Global Markets to show that the [ distinctness ] in the business at Global Banking was more of an annuity stream driven by treasury services revenue, lending revenue and then Investment Banking fees, which ebb and flow based on client activity and the returns are fairly consistent, et cetera. The flip side was we also wanted to show -- I think doing this 5, 6 years ago when we first did it, and have been doing it at ever since. And we're were one of the few companies that does it. On the Global Markets side, you can see that there's actually more stability in that business than a lot of people thought. So if you look on the low end, we might make $600 million, $700 million after tax. On the high end, we made $1.3 billion this quarter, but you'll see this range. And if you look across years of quarters and look at the comparative quarters year-over-year because there's some seasonality, you'll see it's relatively stable. And so we've sort of hit that double-digit level in the worst of quarters during a year and then in the best of quarters, it will kick above it. That was, again, how Tom and the team -- Tom Montag and the team run the business. The stability we put in. And then most importantly was bringing the expense structure down dramatically 5 or 6 years ago, Tom and the team did by almost $1 billion in a quarter in operating expenses just in this markets business alone, and then maintaining it there and continuing to push it down while revenues have stabilized and come back up.

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Saul Martinez, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - MD and Analyst [61]

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Yes, no. That's helpful. So I mean, obviously one of the things that's been helpful for returns in banking is a very benign credit environment. Commercial charge-offs were 10 basis points this quarter, it hasn't really moved much in recent quarters. But how do you -- how should we think about more of a sustainable level? And is there anything there that makes you think that you could start to see some sort of inflection or some sort of an uptick in terms of credit costs?

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [62]

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Are you referring to more sustainable on the net charge-off side?

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Saul Martinez, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - MD and Analyst [63]

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Yes, exactly. On commercial.

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [64]

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I guess what I would -- how I would answer the question is we have been -- we changed our underwriting standards years ago. We've been focused on responsible growth now for a number of years. We've been sticking with that improved client selection, heightened credit standards. So the answer is we can't compare to a previous period in the company's history. We're just going to have to see how this develops. But we're very confident. We don't see anything today, as we look at what's going on in the marketplace, that would suggest that we're at an inflection point. It doesn't mean that I won't be talking to you about -- next quarter about having lived through an inflection point, but we're not seeing anything right now that would tell us that we should expect net charge-offs to rise in the near term. In the long term, there is some seasoning going on in the credit card portfolio that we expect and we've talked about before. But outside of that, we feel good about where our credit card quality is.

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Operator [65]

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And we'll take our next question from Brian Kleinhanzl with KBW.

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Brian Kleinhanzl, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - Director [66]

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Great. Yes, I just had a quick question. I remember you saying that both the business -- or the commercial customers and consumer customers were optimistic still. But did you see a change in that optimism over the course of the quarter? I mean, did it end lower at the end of the quarter given what was going on with D.C. and everything else? Or was it fairly consistent?

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Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America Corporation - Chairman, CEO and President [67]

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I'd say -- I could say consistent. And if you looked at spending, I think it actually maintains its pace through the quarter. As an indicator of their behavior, March was a stronger month than the first 2 months of the quarter. Now you can get into day counts and movements around which weekends fall, but just we didn't see any fall-off in terms of their behavior in spending, which I think is a good indicator of how they're feeling.

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Operator [68]

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And we'll take our next question from Matt O'Connor with Deutsche Bank.

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Matthew D. O'Connor, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - MD in Equity Research [69]

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I just wanted to follow-up on the net interest income one more time. I mean, it feels like the 2Q expectation is a little bit less, certainly versus what I would have thought. And I guess I'm trying to figure out if it's just some conservatism on the deposit repricing assumption. You talk about 50%, but it's been really insignificant so far for the Fed hikes. So I'm trying to gauge, is it conservatism on that? Is it the fact that 10-year has obviously come in a fair amount? Or some combination of both, maybe?

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [70]

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So I'm not going to take you through the math again because the math is fairly self-explanatory, but you've -- there are a lot of assumptions, or I should -- I'll call them assumptions, but there's a lot of things that go into the modeling of NII. You hit upon one of them. Obviously, we could have deposit betas that are different than what we're expecting as we're doing our modeling. The 50 basis points, obviously, is for a full 100% shock. We're talking about a 25% shock. So it's reasonable to expect that we would be lower than 50% for that first 25%. I think the question is how should we be? And we're just going to have to wait and see. We're very focused on the competitive environment. We're focused on the needs and wants of our clients. And we're focused -- we're balancing all of that against what our shareholders would want us to do. So we're just going to have to see how it develops, but there's a lot of things that go into the modeling of expected NII.

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Matthew D. O'Connor, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - MD in Equity Research [71]

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Okay, understood. And then just the impact of long-term rates. I mean, obviously, the comment you made on rate leverages for higher rates and your 75% lever on the short end, as we think about the decline here in long rates, if it holds, how [ frame ] kind of the drag on that. And I think it bleeds in over time, obviously, not all at once.

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [72]

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Yes. The sensitivity on the long end is a function of being able to reinvest as assets mature at higher or lower rates than the average we have now and what it does to the amortization of our premium on our securities portfolio. The latter is a bigger driver in the short term, the former is a bigger driver in the long term. If you think about the company right now, where long-term rates are, we've said this on other calls, we're kind of -- we used to be at equilibrium where an asset rolling off the balance sheet was being replaced by assets rolling on the balance sheet at roughly the same yield. I would say we're in a little bit more positive place right now where even where our rates are, having long-term rates have gone up here over the last 2 quarters, we're sort of in a position where an asset rolling off the balance sheet, on average, is being replaced by an asset coming on at slightly higher yield. So I don't know if that helps you.

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Matthew D. O'Connor, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - MD in Equity Research [73]

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Yes, no. That's very clear and very helpful.

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Operator [74]

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And we'll take our next question from Marty Mosby with Vining Sparks.

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Marlin Lacey Mosby, Vining Sparks IBG, LP, Research Division - Director of Banking and Equity Strategies [75]

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Two technical issues on the kind of net interest margin, NII. When you look at the big benefit in net interest margin, it seems like you had several things, like the hedge ineffectiveness and leasing, that pushed the margin up. And even though you can have NII growth, your margin may even kind of just flatten out. Was there kind of a bias towards the margin just being a little bit higher, given some of those moving pieces this particular quarter?

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [76]

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Look, the bulk of the increase from Q4 to Q1, the $700 million, the bulk of it was due to rates. We just would highlight that there was meaningful improvement that was driven by the leasing seasonality. Think about that as roughly the kind of improvement we get with an extra day in a quarter. And then there was, I think, significant improvement driven by the lack of hedge ineffectiveness in the first quarter relative to what we experienced in the first quarter. But the bulk of it was driven by rates. And if you think about the rate impact, more than half of the rate impact was driven by the long end as opposed to the short end.

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Marlin Lacey Mosby, Vining Sparks IBG, LP, Research Division - Director of Banking and Equity Strategies [77]

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And I was just focusing on the margin in the sense that just like it was rounded up because the things that are going to help next quarter are going to help NII, which may not help the margin. But then the second question was when you look at your transfer pricing mechanism, was curious because it doesn't seem like a lot of banks would have the benefit from rates showing up in corporate other. Is your mechanism, where it's still spreads some of that -- because that will matter on operating leverage for the business segments. So are the segments going to benefit as rates go up more than corporate? It does seem like it's spread out more than other banks.

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [78]

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I think over the longer -- in any one quarter, it could be a little bit lumpy on what -- how company overall benefits versus the segments. But I think over time, over multiple quarters, the segments will benefit. It's just basically a function of how residual flows back to the -- to our segments.

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Marlin Lacey Mosby, Vining Sparks IBG, LP, Research Division - Director of Banking and Equity Strategies [79]

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It is. It just seems like you've got a good methodology to push it to the segments, which is helping operating leverage in each of those segments as you're getting that benefit

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Operator [80]

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And we'll take our next question from Andrew Lim with Societe Generale.

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Andrew Lim, Societe Generale Cross Asset Research - Equity Analyst [81]

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Another NII question, actually. I'm just trying to understand the mechanics of how your guidance in 4Q for a $6 billion uplift in NII, a 400 basis point shock, has come down to about $3.3 billion there. If I understand correctly, the long end has increased, so that reduces your guidance going forward. Is that the way to think about it?

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Paul M. Donofrio, Bank of America Corporation - CFO [82]

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Yes. I think if you look at our disclosures, you'll see that the 100 basis point rate shock at the end of the year was basically the same as rates it is right now. You're referring to what we reported at the end of Q3 being 4-point-something. And that decline in benefit we experienced as rates rose, and that went into our run rate of NII that, as Brian mentioned earlier.

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Andrew Lim, Societe Generale Cross Asset Research - Equity Analyst [83]

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What I've got difficulty understanding is why a past movement in your long rates should affect your future guidance going forward. So if I think about it hypothetically, let's say the yield curve did actually go up by 100 basis point shock in the fourth quarter, then your guidance going forward would actually be 0, based on the way you view it. Is that the way to think about it? Or am I missing it?

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Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America Corporation - Chairman, CEO and President [84]

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No, I think you have to go back. If you look -- you can follow up with Lee afterwards, but if we think about what we told you in the fourth quarter, from the third to the fourth quarter, I think you may be off a quarter. From the third to the fourth quarter, what we said is you basically capitalize into the earnings run rate that $2 billion difference, is now in the earnings run rate. And that's what you're actually seeing. And that's a benefit of the lift in rates, the special on the short-term side. And so that is relatively stable now because the -- that piece went through it. So Lee can follow up with you and take you through sort of the calculation. But it's because -- the good news is it showed up in earnings this quarter as we said it would.

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Andrew Lim, Societe Generale Cross Asset Research - Equity Analyst [85]

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No, absolutely. I can see that. Just trying to see how that moves depending on the shape of the -- the shift in the curve.

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Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America Corporation - Chairman, CEO and President [86]

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Well, because the future investment rate on the long-term rates as it comes down, as the earlier caller talked about, affects our yields on our securities portfolio going forward as we reinvest $20 billion-plus a quarter. So let's -- I'll get Lee to call you afterwards, he can take you through that.

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Operator [87]

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And we have no further questions at this time. I'd like to turn it over to Mr. Moynihan for any closing remarks.

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Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America Corporation - Chairman, CEO and President [88]

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Well, thank you, all of you, for your time. Just to remind you, this is a quarter where we showed our responsible growth coming through. Revenue growth of 7%, flat expenses, 700 basis points of operating leverage across our franchise, good client growth in each of the business. And our asset quality remains strong. So we look forward to talking to you next quarter. Thank you for your time and attention.

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Operator [89]

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This conclude today's call. You may disconnect at any time and have a wonderful day.