First on CNBC: CNBC Transcript: Bank of America Chairman & CEO Brian Moynihan Speaks with CNBC’s Sara Eisen on “Closing Bell” Today


WHEN: Today, Tuesday, April 16, 2024

WHERE: CNBC’s “Closing Bell”

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Bank of America Chairman & CEO Brian Moynihan on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” (M-F, 3PM-4PM ET) today, Tuesday, April 16. Following is a link to video on

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

SARA EISEN: Scott, thank you. Brian, thank you for joining us. I first just have to ask if you’re surprised by the market reaction because the numbers, mostly, were better than expected with a big pop in trading as well.

BRIAN MOYNIHAN: Well, we had a great quarter here at Bank of America, exceeding the expectations. And well, one day’s market, as I always tell myself, you feel good about on that day but the job for us is to drive the things we control and continue to produce for the shareholders. We got 14 percent return on tangible common equity this quarter. And if people are selling the stock, we’ll be buying it back at lower prices today than we thought we would be buying it back. But let’s wait until tomorrow and see what happens.

EISEN: Alright, that’s an expression of confidence. You did reiterate guidance. And the market, I guess, had higher hopes. We saw this with Wells and JPMorgan as well, that higher for longer would be better for net interest income outlook and profitability. So what are you expecting on that front?

MOYNIHAN: Well, we basically told people that for the first quarter of ’24, we told them at the time we did earnings for the fourth quarter last year, that we would actually be down a little bit late quarter. We actually turned out to be up late quarter, up $100 million, which was $300 million, $250-$300 million to the upside. We then said you can kind of lock that in. So the second quarter for us always comes down with the first quarter. We said you can lock that in and it will grow from then on out, which is a different path than other people have and that’s because of the power of our deposit base. Our deposits are growing. Our loan growth is still muted because the economy is still adjusting to all the things that your colleagues have been talking about all day. And so we saw loan growth year-over-year, but late quarter loans were down a little bit due to the seasonality of credit cards. Credit quality is still good, so we feel good about what we are doing. But the key on NII is that we actually had more than we thought we were going to have. We expect to have more than we thought we were going to have next quarter. And it grows from there and, frankly, starts to get to the point where it’s net growth year-over-year for the company.

EISEN: So what about the consumer? Because you have some pretty good visibility into people’s deposits and their credit card spending. Is it doing better? Is it doing worse? Is it the same?

MOYNIHAN: If you look in the spending data for our consumers, you have to put a little bit into historical context. So at Bank of America, we have the honor of serving 60 million U.S. consumers. And we see what goes in and out of their accounts on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. And if you think about, if we were sitting here last year or a year and a half ago, we were talking about consumer spending being very strong. And a lot of people were saying, well, the consumer is going to run out of money. Didn’t happen. The consumer was going to over leverage. Did not happen. The consumer wage growth is not going to keep up, inflation. It didn’t happen back then. And so – but what did happen, as you move forward from that standpoint, is the consumer has slowed down their spending. So we went from a 10 percent year-over-year growth early last year to a 5 percent last fall. And now they are running at about 5 percent, a little less than that in March. April, a little stronger. And what that means, that growth is — movement of money across $4.5 trillion on an annual basis out of the Bank of America accounts is consistent with where we were in ’17, ’18, ’19 when the Fed had raised rates, lowered inflation 2 percent-ish, type growth economy. So you’re seeing the consumer hang there and continue to spend, but spend at a level that’s more consistent with a more trend type of economy and we will see all that play out over the sense of the next quarter.

EISEN: What about what Chair Powell just said on inflation? This afternoon he said recent data have clearly not given us greater confidence that inflation is coming under control. Based on everything you see from how consumers are dealing and also how businesses are passing it on, how do you assess inflation and the path down to 2 percent?

MOYNIHAN: Well, if you look at our research team, which is the best in the world, what they’ve done is just constantly pushed out the effects of the Fed tightening before that. And originally, 18 months ago, they had a recession plan for the last part of last year and early part of this year. Then they pushed it out into the early part of this year. Then they said it’s not a recession, soft landing and now they say it’s basically, continued with trend economy, economic growth. So you had a 4 percent plus growth rate in the third quarter, you know, 3 percent in the fourth quarter last year. And now they say it’s going to be 2.5 this quarter. That reflects just the ongoing attributes of, A, the consumer being solid, businesses making money, unemployment is staying low. They have unemployment not getting up above 4 percent until the end of ’25. Originally, they had it this year. All that is just sort of pushing out the impacts because I think the debate is going on and you’re talking about it every day. And we’re –


MOYNIHAN: — Fed watching way too much right now. The issue is that the Fed has put a huge constraint on economic growth due to the massive stimulus and in response to the crisis and the lowering of rates and the things that went on. It is still having an effect. You’ve seen the economy slow down, even from third quarter last year to fourth quarter but it’s taken longer than they think. And those experts, say it takes about four years to wind out of inflation. And so, while the Fed has omnipotent power to make the decision, they don’t have the power to decide what the facts are. And so, at the end of the day –

EISEN: Right.

MOYNIHAN: — the facts are going along based on a solid economy, OK. They’re not moving as fast as some people might have thought. And that is the day-to-day impact on three cuts, four cuts, seven cuts, two cuts.


MOYNIHAN: At the end of the day, our company will operate well in any environment.

EISEN: When does, when do loan, when do loans pick up again? When are we going to start to see growth there?

MOYNIHAN: So the interesting part of that is if you sort it out by the businesses there are a couple things going on. One in the high-end global corporate investment banking business, we had a great quarter for investment banking fees, and part of that is debt capital markets. So people are going into market and financing and paying off either temporary credit for an acquisition or paying off and refinancing bank loans into the market because they are cheaper and have longer duration to them. So that’s, the places we did not get loan growth in the quarter are really around there. We had a typical seasonal decline in credit card, but that’s usually planned for. And all the other areas grew slightly. So the middle market business grew a little bit; the business banking, which is a small business, grew a bit; and small business itself grew. And so, what we’re seeing is a steadying of the draw rates and lines of credit sort of flattening back out. It was declining and now it’s sort of leveled off. But we are not seeing robust loan demand for two reasons. One is it’s expensive. One of your colleagues was talking about it. You went from 25 basis points to 5.25, 5.5 on the Fed’s funds rate and add the margin to that, yes, that’s a 20-fold increase in the in interest costs base. And so that’s had the impact of saying I’m only going to borrow if I really am convinced there’s an opportunity. And so, what you’re seeing is companies being careful in their borrowing, careful in their employment levels. They’re not laying off as much people but they’re not hiring as much people. So labor’s more — you can find labor more easily than you could before. And they’re just being generally a little more conservative because they listening to all the stuff that you’ve been talking about all day.


MOYNIHAN: And I think, but at the end of the day, we are seeing some loan, year-over-year we’re up 1 percent loan growth. That’s fine, but we expect to see more as with the economy running this strong, you’d expect to see more. But I think it has to do with general borrowing conditions still muted due to even on home loans, obviously higher mortgage rates slow down the borrowing process there.

EISEN: Yes, it’s the plus-minus of high rates. Thank you very much, Brian, for all the color. Really helpful as we look at the stock come off the lows. Brian Moynihan, the CEO of Bank of America.

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