Bank of America 3Q profits rise 32 percent, beats forecasts

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NEW YORK (AP) - Bank of America said Monday that its third-quarter profits rose by 32 percent from a year ago, driven by higher interest rates, which allowed BofA to charge more for loans, and a much lower tax rate, helped by last year's tax law.

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based banking giant said it earned a profit of $7.17 billion, or 66 cents a share. That's up from $5.42 billion, or 46 cents a share, a year earlier. The results the forecast of Wall Street analysts, who were looking for BofA to earn 62 cents a share.

Like other big banks that have reported so far this quarter, Bank of America's quarterly results were driven by higher interest rates and lower taxes. BofA's net interest income rose 6 percent from a year earlier to $11.9 billion.

"Responsible growth, backed by a solid U.S. economy and a healthy U.S. consumer, combined to deliver the highest quarterly pretax earnings in our company's history," said Brian Moynihan, the bank's chief executive and chairman, in a statement.

While Bank of America had to pay more for deposits in the quarter, the bank was more than able to make up for it by charging borrowers more to take out loans. The bank's net interest spread, which is the difference between how much banks pay for deposits compared to what it charges to loan money out, widened to 2.42 percent in the quarter.

BofA also paid significantly less taxes in the quarter. While the bank's pretax profits rose by more than $1.3 billion in the quarter, the amount of money the bank set aside to pay taxes fell by $300 million.

The bank's revenue was $22.78 billion in the quarter, beating analysts' estimates.

BofA shares rose 24 cents to $28.70 in premarket trading.

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