Bank of America today reported record 2004 earnings of $14.1 billion, or $3.69 per share. The company’s fourth-quarter earnings were $3.85 billion, or 94 cents per share, up 41 percent from $2.73 billion, or 92 cents per share a year ago.

Fourth-quarter revenue grew to $13.9 billion from $9.79 billion the previous year. Net interest income was $7.96 billion, compared to $5.75 billion a year earlier.

Results reported for periods in 2003 and the first quarter of 2004 do not include the impact of FleetBoston Financial Corp., which BofA acquired in April.

Fourth quarter earnings included merger and restructuring charges of $181 million after-tax, which reduced earnings by 4 cents per share.

Business highlights for 2004 include:

  • The company grew net new consumer checking accounts by 2.11 million in 2004, compared to an increase of 1.25 million in 2003. The number of accounts increased by 596,000 in the fourth quarter.

  • The company grew net new consumer savings products by 2.6 million in 2004, compared to an increase of 640,000 in 2003. The number of new savings products was 729,000 in the fourth quarter.

  • The company opened 5.59 million new consumer credit card accounts in 2004, compared to 4.28 million in 2003. The number of new consumer credit card accounts opened in the fourth quarter was 1.53 million.

  • Online banking active users increased 72 percent to 12.4 million, representing a 50 percent penetration of checking account customers. Of those users, 5.8 million use bill pay, an increase of 78 percent from a year ago.

  • For the year, both syndicated loans and leveraged loans were first in market share in the number of deals closed and were both second in the market for the dollar volume of deals closed.

  • In 2004, the company became the top U.S. deal manager in commercial mortgage-backed securities, issuing $11.8 billion in securities.

Bank of America shares (NYSE:BAC) traded at $44.87 this morning.

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