Banking

Moynihan says Bank of America would be ‘fine’ under Trump

Bank of America Corp.’s second-quarter trading revenue is on track to rise by “mid-single digits,” Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said Thursday, following optimistic comments a day earlier from JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Bank of America Corp.’s second-quarter trading revenue is on track to rise by “mid-single digits,” Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said Thursday, following optimistic comments a day earlier from JPMorgan Chase & Co. jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.com

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan this week played down the effect Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, would have on the Charlotte-based bank if elected.

At a fundraiser for the Japan Society in New York on Wednesday, Moynihan told investor Wilbur Ross, who posed the question during a 20-minute interview on stage, that he resists offering opinions on individual candidates.

“I have high confidence that the powers of the office will tend to shape people into being what’s good for America,” Moynihan said. “At the end of the day, Bank of America will be fine.”

Seaparately, Monyinhan on Thursday said Bank of America’s second-quarter trading revenue is on track to rise by “mid-single digits,” following optimistic comments a day earlier from JPMorgan Chase & Co.

“We feel good about it,” Moynihan, 56, said at an investor conference in New York. Trading in April and May was “consistent with what you’re hearing out there. We feel that for the quarter, we might be mid-single digits up over the last year.”

JPMorgan’s Daniel Pinto, who runs that firm’s investment bank, said Wednesday that trading revenue is poised to increase by a “mid-teens“ percentage in the second quarter from a year earlier. A rebound in businesses including rates trading and some emerging markets are driving the improvement, he said.

Wall Street banks have been chopping costs and cutting jobs in debt-trading operations as stricter regulations and persistently low interest rates have strangled revenue. The world’s biggest investment banks generated $70 billion in fixed- income revenue last year, half the 2009 peak, according to Coalition Development Ltd.

JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have differed from Morgan Stanley on whether revenues from trading bonds, currencies and commodities are permanently dwindling. The two larger banks have been preaching patience and even pointing to opportunities to steal market share from competitors, while Morgan Stanley cut a quarter of its fixed-income staff late last year.

“It feels that probably we are getting toward the end of the cycle of contraction now,” Pinto, 53, said Wednesday. “We are in a good position to face the next stage, when that comes.”

Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn said Tuesday that he’s optimistic about fixed income as some European and U.S. competitors retrench, adding that trading revenue in those regions could rebound. The New York-based firm has cut the number of fixed-income employees by 10 percent since the beginning of 2012, while compensation for the business has declined more than 20 percent, Cohn said.

While trading has improved in the second quarter, investment banking “is going to take longer to recover,” Moynihan told investors. The unit’s performance “is going to be dependent upon what’s going on out there,” he said. “It took a little while for the pipeline to pick up.”

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