Bank of America Corp. today reported third-quarter earnings of $3.76 billion, or $.91 per diluted share, up 29 percent compared to earnings of $2.92 billion, or $.96 per share, a year ago. Under purchase accounting rules, year-ago results do not include the impact of FleetBoston Financial Corp., which was acquired on April 1, 2004.

In addition to the impact of Fleet, the company’s net-income improvement was driven by continued momentum in consumer banking, merger-driven cost savings, lower provision expense and gains on the sale of debt securities, according to a company statement.

Third-quarter earnings included merger and restructuring charges of $221 million pre-tax, which reduced earnings by 4 cents per share. These included $156 million for the Fleet merger and $65 million for severance related to the infrastructure initiative announced last week.

For the first nine months of 2004, Bank of America earned $10.29 billion, or $2.76 per share, up 27.4 percent compared to $8.08 billion, or $2.65 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue on a fully taxable-equivalent basis grew to $12.73 billion from $9.92 billion the previous year, an increase of 28.3 percent.

Bank of America shares were trading at $44.80 this morning.

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