Last week, the CEO of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Brian Moynihan, presented at a conference hosted by the bank. He covered a lot of ground, but focused in particular on the bank's progress since he took over seven years ago.
One of the earliest slides in the presentation deck did so by showing the increase in Bank of America's tangible common equity since the fourth quarter of 2009 -- the final quarter before Moynihan took over.
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You can see this in the chart below on the left. This shows that Bank of America's tangible common equity climbed from $112 billion up to $176 billion, a 57% increase.
Having more capital means that it's less leveraged. And holding all else equal, using less leverage means that it has a larger cushion to absorb loan losses in the event that the economy takes a turn for the worse.
Along these same lines, as you can see in the chart on the right above, Bank of America has built up its liquidity, as well, more than doubling its global liquidity sources. These are either cash or near-cash equivalents that can be turned into cash at short notice in the event that the bank needs to satisfy an increase in withdrawals by depositors.
Bank of America has also reconfigured its funding sources, as you can see below. At the end of 2009, the bank relied twice as heavily on long-term debt (chart on left), borrowing $523 billion worth of it. That has since dropped to $224 billion.
By contrast, the bank has seen deposits grow from $992 billion up to $1.3 trillion. This is beneficial given that deposits are cheaper than long-term debt. At present, Bank of America pays only 0.11% in interest on deposits, but 2.84% on debt. This is also a desirable trend in light of the fact that deposits are one of the most stable funding sources available to banks.
The chart on the right goes to this same point, showing that Bank of America has decreased its reliance on short-term repurchase agreements as a source of funds -- namely, those with maturities of less than one week. These are especially vulnerable because the provider of the funds can choose not to roll them over if a bank runs into trouble.
By the same token, the percent of repurchase agreements on Bank of America's balance sheet with maturities over a month has climbed from 61% up to 82% since the end of 2011.
The fundamental takeaway is that Bank of America has spent the past seven years bolstering its balance sheet by making itself more solvent and more liquid, both of which are positive signs for the bank's shareholders.
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