- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2009

Bank of America Corp. on Monday reported a first-quarter net income of $4.2 billion — more than triple its 2008 first-quarter earnings.

The company also reported earnings per share were 44 cents after paying preferred dividends and repaying $402 million in federal government loans.

Bank of America, the country’s largest bank by assets, reported a net income of $1.2 billion and earnings per share of 23 cents in the first quarter of 2008.

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The company’s stock was down 6.98 percent, to $9.86, in pre-market trading.

The first-quarter results included those of Merrill Lynch & Co., which Bank of America purchased on January 1 and Countrywide Financial, which was acquired on July 1, 2008, according to the report.

Bank of America said Merrill Lynch contributed $3.7 billion to earnings and Countrywide also added to net income— as a result of mortgage lending and an increase in mortgage refinancing. The 2008 first-quarter report did not include Merrill Lynch and Countrywide results.

The Charlotte, N.C.-bank said it also took steps in the 2009 first quarter to enhance its capital and liquidity position, including the addition of $6.4 billion for loan-loss reserves.

Kenneth D. Lewis, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, said the report was welcome news but “we continue to face extremely difficult challenges, primarily from deteriorating credit quality driven by weakness in the economy and growing unemployment.”

The report stated Bank of America extended $183 billion in credit in the quarter, made $16 billion in mortgage loans to 102,000 low- and moderate-income borrowers and will add roughly 5,000 more positions to meet the increasing demand for refinancing and first-time mortgages.

In the past two weeks, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Wells Fargo also have issued first-quarter reports that have exceeded analysts’ expectations.

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