BofA CEO wary of ‘emo­tional’ hit

But has bright fore­cast for U.S., de­spite pol­i­tics

Boston Herald - - BIZ SMART - By JOR­DAN GRA­HAM — jor­dan.gra­ham@boston­her­ald.com Her­ald wire ser­vices con­trib­uted to this re­port.

The head of Bank of Amer­ica said the U.S. econ­omy re­mains on sta­ble fi­nan­cial foot­ing, but warned of the dan­gers of an emo­tional re­ac­tion to the po­lit­i­cal land­scape. “The ques­tion is what is on our minds, that’s what’s go­ing to be what stops a con­sumer from spend­ing,” said Brian Moyni­han, pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of Bank of Amer­ica, speak­ing at the Bos­ton Col­lege Chief Ex­ec­u­tives Club yes­ter­day. “Not a fi­nan­cial im­pact ... but an emo­tional im­pact, that’s what we’ve got to watch the next few months.” Moyni­han said the econ­omy con­tin­ues to show signs of growth in fun­da­men­tal ar­eas, re­gard­less of pol­i­tics. He said Bank of Amer­ica has not changed its eco­nomic out­look fol­low­ing the midterm elec­tions. “The world ebbs and flows, and in the end of day what’s go­ing on now is con­sumers are spend­ing, and what’s go­ing on now is un­em­ploy­ment is in good shape, wages are grow­ing and that’s what drives the U.S. econ­omy,” he said. “Are there other things you can think about, talk about? Ab­so­lutely, but the re­al­ity is that’s what's go­ing on as we speak, and I don’t think it changed our team’s opin­ion at all.” Demo­cratic con­trol of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives likely means Rep. Max­ine Wa­ters (D-Calif.) will take charge of the pow­er­ful Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices com­mit­tee. Wa­ters is seen as be­ing less friendly to­ward banks and the fi­nance in­dus­try com­pared to Repub­li­can com­mit­tee lead­er­ship. Yes­ter­day, Moyni­han dis­missed spec­u­la­tion that it would be dif­fi­cult for the in­dus­try to work with her. “I’ve got a 30-year per­sonal his­tory work­ing with both sides of the aisle, and it’ll work through, we’ll be fine,” he said. “We’ll find out what it’s go­ing to be like, but I’m con­fi­dent that ev­ery­body has the best in­ter­ests of Amer­ica (in mind).” Also yes­ter­day, Fed­eral Re­serve of­fi­cials held a key in­ter­est rate steady and ap­peared to stay on course for an­other hike next month. They said that U.S. eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity “has been ris­ing at a strong rate,” the la­bor mar­ket con­tin­ues to strengthen and house­hold spend­ing is grow­ing strongly. But they added a new note of cau­tion. Fixed busi­ness in­vest­ment “has mod­er­ated from its rapid pace ear­lier in the year,” the state­ment said. In re­cent months, Fed state­ments have noted that spend­ing was grow­ing “strongly.”

AN­GELA ROWLINGS / BOS­TON HER­ALD

POS­I­TIVE OUT­LOOK: Bank of Amer­ica Chair­man and CEO Brian Moyni­han speaks yes­ter­day dur­ing the Bos­ton Col­lege Chief Ex­ec­u­tives Club lun­cheon.

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