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Bank Of America Ceo "comfortable" With Bank's Investments - Flower Garland Lights Manufacturer

Bank of America CEO "comfortable" with bank's investments By Rick Rothacker Posted 2012/05/21 at 4:43 pm EDT May 21, 2012 (Reuters) — Bank of America Corp is "very comfortable" with the composition of its corporateinvestment portfolio, which is invested mostly ingovernment-guaranteed mortgage bonds and U.S. Treasury bonds, ChiefExecutive Officer Brian Moynihan said at an investor conference onMonday. Moynihan was asked about the bank's investments following JPMorganChase & Co's disclosure this month that it lost at least $2 billion on atrading strategy by its Corporate Investment Office. Bank ofAmerica buys insurance-like protection on some loans to largecompanies, but doesn't make broader credit hedging bets at thecorporate level, he said. Bank of America held debt securities of $297 billion at the end ofthe first quarter, according to the bank's quarterly filing withthe Securities and Exchange Commission.

In its mortgage business, Moynihan said the bank's cost to collectpayments on loans and to work with struggling borrowers -- about $3billion per quarter -- is peaking as delinquent loans continue tosubside. These costs, however, won't come down significantly untilnext year and 2014, he said. The bank is also looking to make more mortgages directly tocustomers after its market share slipped to about 4 percent in thefirst quarter from about 5.5 percent in the previous quarter, Moynihan said. Originations are up about 20 percent this quarter asthe bank hires more loan officers, he said. To boost profitability, Bank of America has been working to cutexpenses as part of a company-wide program called Project New BAC.Planning for the second phase of the initiative, which focuses oncapital markets and wealth management operations, has beencompleted, and the bank will disclose its expense targets shortly, Moynihan said.

In the first phase, which covers consumer operations, the bank aimsto eliminate $5 billion in annual expenses and 30, 000 jobs. Thesecond phase is expected to produce less savings and job cutsbecause those businesses are more efficient. (Reporting By Rick Rothacker in Charlotte, North Carolina; Editingby Gary Hill and Phil Berlowitz).

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