Bank of America began the year with unexpectedly strong profits, in another sign of the strong recovery being staged by the country's big banks.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank, the nation's largest, said on Friday morning that it booked a profit of $3.2 billion in the first three months of 2010, or 28 cents a share. That was more than the 18 cents a share that analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected.
The profit was down from the first quarter of 2009, but those results were muddied by one-time events associated with the financial crisis. Last quarter, the bank lost $194 million, while in the quarter before that, losses amounted to $1 billion.
Like JPMorgan Chase & Co., which reported its earnings earlier in the week, Bank of America's strong results came primarily from the strength of its investment-bank and trading desks, large parts of which were acquired when Bank of America purchased Merrill Lynch in the midst of the financial crisis. But the results were also helped by the improving credit trends of retail borrowers.