Aided by a substantial release of its credit card loan-loss reserves, Bank of America Corp. today announced that its Global Card Services unit earned $952 million in net income during the first quarter ended March 31; the unit reported a $1.75 billion loss during the same period a year ago.
Net revenue for the unit fell 8.1%, to $6.8 billion from $7.4 billion, which the company attributed to lower net interest income from fewer overall accounts and to lower fee income resulting from implementation of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act. Net interest income during the quarter fell 7.7%, to $4.8 billion compared with $5.2 billion. At the end of March the company held $181.8 billion in card loans, down 16.4% from $217.5 billion a year earlier.
Fewer account-delinquencies and lower expected losses helped BofA reduce its provision for credit card loan-losses during the quarter to $3.5 billion, down 57.3% from $8.2 billion from a year earlier. The net charge-off rate on outstanding receivables during the quarter was 12%, up 338 basis points from 8.62% a year ago. The delinquency rate on accounts at least 30 days past due fell 113 basis points, to 6.77% from 7.9%.
During a conference call today with analysts, BofA CEO Brian T. Moynihan said the company’s credit card business is “continuing to repair,” helped by more conservative underwriting policies and improvements in charge-off and delinquency rates.
Credit card purchase volume during the quarter rose 1.2%, to $48.7 billion from $48.1 billion. The company said it opened 745,000 credit card accounts during the quarter, down 39.4% from 1.23 million a year ago. The issuer said it extended some $3 billion in domestic consumer and small-business card loans during the quarter and reduced the interest rates and payment terms on some 200,000 consumer and small-business credit card accounts.
Debit card purchase volume rose 9.8%, to $56.1 billion from $51.1 billion.