Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan discussed cost-cutting, technology, House Bill 2 and more in an interview Thursday morning on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
The Charlotte-based bank, the nation’s second-largest lender by assets, has been under pressure to improve profitability at a time when interest rates are low, cutting into revenues of banks everywhere. Moynihan said the bank has taken out $20 billion in operating expenses over the last five years, and that there is still room to reduce.
In Charlotte and beyond, reductions have come notably in the form of job cuts. Moynihan noted Thursday how technology has helped reduce costs, too. Online and mobile banking, he pointed out, have “really taken off.”
The bank just reached 21 million mobile banking customers last week, Moynihan noted, and mobile use is growing at a pace of 15 percent a year.
“Over the last seven or eight years (we’ve) reduced our branch count by 20 percent, increased our earnings, even in a tough rate environment, reduced the total number of people we have working at branches, but more importantly, we have more sales going on, and it’s all with high customer satisfaction. So it’s really helped our business model,” Moynihan said.
Moynihan also voiced optimism about consumer spending, which makes up the biggest part of the U.S. economy, despite the fact that wages aren’t growing as fast as everyone would like.
Asked about the bank’s stock performance relative to peers like JPMorgan since the financial crisis, Moynihan said Bank of America has learned lessons from “that war” that it’s still applying today.
“We had a war to fight that few other people had, between cleaning up the mortgage mess and the cost structure of that, the litigation, and that war is over,” he said.
And when asked by reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin about North Carolina’s controversial LGBT law, House Bill 2, Moynihan said the bank’s position hasn’t changed.
Bank of America was one of the major U.S. corporations that called for a repeal of HB2 days after it was signed into law in March.
“The team has been working with all the groups to try to figure out a solution. It’s impacting the economy ... we have to be what our teammates believe is an environment where they can come to work and they are free to be (themselves),” Moynihan said.