Bank of America reported a net income of $17.9bn in 2020, a 34% drop from the $27.4bn earned in 2019.

Furthermore, net income for Q4 2020 also fell, from $7bn to $5.5bn year-on-year.

In addition, Q4 2020 revenue decreased 10% year-on-year.

However, Bank of America saw deposits grow by £327bn, or 23%, to $1.7trn.

Bank of America and wealth management in 2020

The global wealth and investment management arms of Bank of American fared better in the year.

Net income totalled $836m and there were record client balances of more than $3.3trn. Client balances increased 10% and was attributed to higher market valuations and client flows.

Deposits were up 20% to hit $306bn and Merrill added close to 22,000 net new households in 220. The private bank gained a net of 1,800 new relationships.

77% of wealth management clients used online or mobile platforms and there were a record 137,000 WebEx meetings hosted by Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Financial Advisors. This was an eightfold increased compared to Q4 2019. The private banks also managed a startling 1,800 client interactions per day in 2020.

Chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan said: “During 2020, we witnessed the dramatic effects of the health crisis on the economy and our company’s operations. In the fourth quarter, we continued to see signs of a recovery, led by increased consumer spending, stabilising loan demand by our commercial customers, and strong markets and investing activity. The latest stimulus package, continued progress on vaccines, and our talented teammates – who performed well helping their customers through this crisis – position us well as the recovery continues.

“In the fourth quarter, we saw higher net interest income, higher Consumer revenue, record asset management fees, strong results from our Global Markets teams, and a stronger balance sheet. In 2020, we earned nearly $18bn and achieved several key strategic objectives: gaining market share in deposits, expanding our digital leadership, and adding thousands of wealth management clients. In addition, we gained market share in investment banking and supported clients with liquidity and superior trading execution.

“Also we made progress in support of our communities, committing $300m of our $1bn four-year initiative to help drive racial equality and economic opportunity.”

Chief financial officer Paul Donofrio added: “Despite one of the worst economic environments in modern memory, we ended the year stronger than before the health crisis and well positioned to support our clients. We grew deposits by $361bn, improved our capital ratios and increased liquidity to record levels, exceeding loans. Because of the responsible way we have operated the company over many years, we were able to support the economy by raising $772bn in capital on behalf of clients, invest in our franchise and still be in a position to return $4.8bn in capital to our shareholders in the first quarter of 2021 in the form of common stock repurchases and dividends.”