Bank of America's CEO has a bullish message about the US economy

Brian moynihanREUTERS / Bobby YipBrian Moynihan

“We see continued encouraging signs in customer and client activity, with consumer spending increasing and utilization of credit by our commercial customers rising,” Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said in its Q1 earnings press release.

For most of the first quarter, we saw numerous US economic growth measure deteriorate and even decline. Moynihan’s comments offer some welcome contrast.

Sure, you might think every CEO is likely to say positive and uplifting things. But since the financial crisis, executives have also balanced their optimism with warnings of uncertainties in the economy. That’s not the message Moynihan and his team are telegraphing.

“[C]redit quality remained strong, reflecting both the economic environment and our risk underwriting,” CFO Bruce Thompson said.

Of course, if you go into the risk considerations section of the company’s regulatory filings, you’ll see also sorts of reasons to be more cautious.

But by slanting bullish in the earnings press release, Moynihan exposes himself to scrutiny should things go south in the coming quarters.

For now, Bank of America’s message is broadly bullish about the economy: consumers are spending, businesses are borrowing, credit quality is high, and the banking business is good.

“This should bode well for the near-term economic outlook,” Moynihan said.

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