Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Summary of Significant Accounting Principles

Summary of Significant Accounting Principles
9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2018
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Summary of Significant Accounting Principles
Summary of Significant Accounting Principles
Bank of America Corporation, a bank holding company and a financial holding company, provides a diverse range of financial services and products throughout the U.S. and in certain international markets. The term “the Corporation” as used herein may refer to Bank of America Corporation, individually, Bank of America Corporation and its subsidiaries, or certain of Bank of America Corporation’s subsidiaries or affiliates.
Principles of Consolidation and Basis of Presentation
The Consolidated Financial Statements include the accounts of the Corporation and its majority-owned subsidiaries and those variable interest entities (VIEs) where the Corporation is the primary beneficiary. Intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated. Results of operations of acquired companies are included from the dates of acquisition and for VIEs, from the dates that the Corporation became the primary beneficiary. Assets held in an agency or fiduciary capacity are not included in the Consolidated Financial Statements. The Corporation accounts for investments in companies for which it owns a voting interest and for which it has the ability to exercise significant influence over operating and financing decisions using the equity method of accounting. These investments are included in other assets. Equity method investments are subject to impairment testing, and the Corporation’s proportionate share of income or loss is included in other income.
The preparation of the Consolidated Financial Statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP) requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect reported amounts and disclosures. Realized results could materially differ from those estimates and assumptions.
These unaudited Consolidated Financial Statements should be read in conjunction with the audited Consolidated Financial Statements of the Corporation’s 2017 Annual Report on Form 10-K.
The nature of the Corporation’s business is such that the results of any interim period are not necessarily indicative of results for a full year. In the opinion of management, all adjustments, which consist of normal recurring adjustments necessary for a fair statement of the interim period results, have been made. The Corporation evaluates subsequent events through the date of filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Certain prior-period amounts have been reclassified to conform to current period presentation.
Change in Tax Law
On December 22, 2017, the President signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the Tax Act) which made significant changes to federal income tax law including, among other things, reducing the statutory corporate income tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent and changing the taxation of the Corporation’s non-U.S. business activities. On the same date, the SEC issued Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 118 which specifies, among other things, that reasonable estimates of the income tax effects of the Tax Act should be used, if determinable. The Corporation has accounted for the effects of the Tax Act using reasonable estimates based on currently available information and its interpretations thereof. This accounting may change due to, among other things, changes in interpretations the Corporation has made and the issuance of new tax or accounting guidance.
Accounting Standards Adopted on January 1, 2018
Effective January 1, 2018, the Corporation adopted the following new accounting standards on a prospective basis. For additional information, see Note 1 – Summary of Significant Accounting Principles to the Consolidated Financial Statements of the Corporation’s 2017 Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Revenue Recognition The new accounting standard addresses the recognition of revenue from contracts with customers. For additional information, see Revenue Recognition Accounting Policies in this Note, Note 2 – Noninterest Income and Note 17 – Business Segment Information.
Hedge Accounting The new accounting standard simplifies and expands the ability to apply hedge accounting to certain risk management activities. For additional information, see Note 3 – Derivatives.
Recognition and Measurement of Financial Assets and Liabilities The new accounting standard relates to the recognition and measurement of financial instruments, including equity investments. For additional information, see Note 4 – Securities and Note 16 – Fair Value of Financial Instruments.
Tax Effects in Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income The new accounting standard addresses certain tax effects stranded in accumulated other comprehensive income (OCI) related to the Tax Act. For additional information, see Note 12 – Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income (Loss).
Effective January 1, 2018, the Corporation adopted the following new accounting standards on a retrospective basis, resulting in restatement of all prior periods presented in the Consolidated Statement of Income and the Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows. The changes in presentation are not material to the individual line items affected.
Presentation of Pension Costs The new accounting standard requires separate presentation of the service cost component of pension expense from all other components of net pension benefit/cost in the Consolidated Statement of Income. As a result, the service cost component continues to be presented in personnel expense while other components of net pension benefit/cost (e.g., interest cost, actual return on plan assets, amortization of prior service cost) are now presented in other general operating expense.
Classification of Cash Flows and Restricted Cash The new accounting standards address the classification of certain cash receipts and cash payments in the statement of cash flows as well as the presentation and disclosure of restricted cash. For more information on restricted cash, see Note 9 – Federal Funds Sold or Purchased, Securities Financing Agreements, Short-term Borrowings and Restricted Cash.
Accounting Standards Issued and Not Yet Adopted
Lease Accounting
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued a new accounting standard effective on January 1, 2019 that requires lessees to recognize operating leases on the Consolidated Balance Sheet as right-of-use assets and lease liabilities based on the value of the discounted future lease payments. Lessor accounting is largely unchanged. Expanded disclosures about the nature and terms of lease agreements will be required. The Corporation intends to elect the optional transition method, which allows for the recognition of leases at the beginning of the period of adoption through a cumulative-effect adjustment in retained earnings, with no adjustment to comparative prior periods presented. The effect of the adoption will depend on the lease portfolio at the time of transition; however, based on current estimates, the Corporation expects to recognize right-of-use assets and lease liabilities within a range of approximately $9 billion to $11 billion. Adoption of the standard is not expected to have a significant effect on the Corporation’s regulatory capital measures.
Accounting for Financial Instruments -- Credit Losses
The FASB issued a new accounting standard effective on January 1, 2020, with early adoption permitted on January 1, 2019, that will replace the existing measurement of the allowance for credit losses with management’s best estimate of probable credit losses inherent in the Corporation’s lending activities. The new standard will reflect management’s best estimate of all expected credit losses for substantially all of the Corporation’s financial assets that are recognized at amortized cost. The standard also requires expanded credit quality disclosures. The Corporation is in the process of identifying and implementing required changes to credit loss estimation models and processes and evaluating the impact of this new accounting standard, which at the date of adoption is expected to increase the allowance for credit losses with a resulting negative adjustment to retained earnings. The change will be dependent on the characteristics of the Corporation’s portfolio at adoption date as well as the macroeconomic conditions and forecast as of that date. While a final decision has not been made, the Corporation does not expect to early adopt the standard.
Significant Accounting Principles Update
Revenue Recognition
The following summarizes the Corporation’s revenue recognition accounting policies for certain noninterest income activities.
Card Income
Card income includes annual, late and over-limit fees as well as fees earned from interchange, cash advances and other miscellaneous transactions and is presented net of direct costs. Interchange fees are recognized upon settlement of the credit and debit card payment transactions and are generally determined on a percentage basis for credit cards and fixed rates for debit cards based on the corresponding payment network’s rates. Substantially all card fees are recognized at the transaction date, except for certain time-based fees such as annual fees, which are recognized over 12 months. Fees charged to cardholders that are estimated to be uncollectible are reserved in the allowance for loan and lease losses. Rewards paid to cardholders are related to points earned by the cardholder that can be redeemed for a broad range of rewards including cash, travel and gift cards. Based on past redemption behavior, card product type, account transaction activity and other historical card performance, the Corporation estimates a liability based on the amount of earned reward points that are expected to be redeemed. The Corporation also makes payments to credit card partners. The payments are based on revenue-sharing agreements that are generally driven by cardholder transactions and partner sales volumes.
Service Charges
Service charges include deposit and lending-related fees. Deposit-related fees consist of fees earned on consumer and commercial
deposit activities and are generally recognized when the transactions occur or as the service is performed. Consumer fees are earned on consumer deposit accounts for account maintenance and various transaction-based services, such as ATM transactions, wire transfer activities, check and money order processing and insufficient funds/overdraft transactions. Commercial deposit-related fees are from the Corporation’s Global Transaction Services business and consist of commercial deposit and treasury management services, including account maintenance and other services, such as payroll, sweep account and other cash management services. Lending-related fees generally represent transactional fees earned from certain loan commitments, financial guarantees and standby letters of credit (SBLCs).
Investment and Brokerage Services
Investment and brokerage services consist of asset management and brokerage fees. Asset management fees are earned from the management of client assets under advisory agreements or the full discretion of the Corporation’s financial advisors (collectively referred to as assets under management (AUM)). Asset management fees are earned as a percentage of the client’s AUM and generally range from 50 basis points (bps) to 150 bps of the AUM. In cases where a third party is used to obtain a client’s investment allocation, the fee remitted to the third party is recorded net and is not reflected in the transaction price, as the Corporation is an agent for those services.
Brokerage fees include income earned from transaction-based services that are performed as part of investment management services and are based on a fixed price per unit or as a percentage of the total transaction amount. Brokerage fees also include distribution fees and sales commissions that are primarily in the Global Wealth & Investment Management (GWIM) segment and are earned over time. In addition, primarily in the Global Markets segment, brokerage fees are earned when the Corporation fills customer orders to buy or sell various financial products or when it acknowledges, affirms, settles and clears transactions and/or submits trade information to the appropriate clearing broker. Certain customers pay brokerage, clearing and/or exchange fees imposed by relevant regulatory bodies or exchanges in order to execute or clear trades. These fees are recorded net and are not reflected in the transaction price, as the Corporation is an agent for those services.
Investment Banking Income
Investment banking income includes underwriting income and financial advisory services income. Underwriting consists of fees earned for the placement of a customer’s debt or equity securities. The revenue is generally earned based on a percentage of the fixed number of shares or principal placed. Once the number of shares or notes is determined and the service is completed, the underwriting fees are recognized. The Corporation incurs certain out-of-pocket expenses, such as legal costs, in performing these services. These expenses are recovered through the revenue the Corporation earns from the customer and are included in operating expenses. Syndication fees represent fees earned as the agent or lead lender responsible for structuring, arranging and administering a loan syndication.
Financial advisory services consist of fees earned for assisting customers with transactions related to mergers and acquisitions and financial restructurings. Revenue varies depending on the size
and number of services performed for each contract and is generally contingent on successful execution of the transaction. Revenue is typically recognized once the transaction is completed and all services have been rendered. Additionally, the Corporation may earn a fixed fee in merger and acquisition transactions to provide a fairness opinion, with the fees recognized when the opinion is delivered to the customer.
Other Revenue Measurement and Recognition Policies
The Corporation did not disclose the value of any open performance obligations at September 30, 2018, as its contracts with customers generally have a fixed term that is less than one year, an open term with a cancellation period that is less than one year, or provisions that allow the Corporation to recognize revenue at the amount it has the right to invoice.