Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Summary of Significant Accounting Principles

Summary of Significant Accounting Principles
6 Months Ended
Jun. 30, 2020
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 requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect reported amounts and disclosures. Actual 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 2019 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. Certain prior-period amounts have been reclassified to conform to current period presentation.
New Accounting Standards
Reference Rate Reform
In March 2020, the FASB issued a new accounting standard related to contracts or hedging relationships that reference LIBOR or other reference rates that are expected to be discontinued due to reference rate reform. The new standard provides for optional expedients and other guidance regarding the accounting related to modifications of contracts, hedging relationships and other transactions affected by reference rate reform. The Corporation has elected to retrospectively adopt the new standard as of January 1, 2020 which resulted in no immediate impact. While reference rate reform is not expected to have a material accounting impact on the Corporation’s consolidated financial position or results of operations, the standard will ease the
administrative burden in accounting for the future effects of reference rate reform.
Accounting for Financial Instruments -- Credit Losses
On January 1, 2020, the Corporation adopted the new accounting standard that requires the measurement of the allowance for credit losses to be based on management’s best estimate of lifetime expected credit losses (ECL) inherent in the Corporation’s relevant financial assets. Upon adoption of the standard on January 1, 2020, the Corporation recorded a $3.3 billion, or 32 percent, increase to the allowance for credit losses. After adjusting for deferred taxes and other adoption effects, a $2.4 billion decrease was recorded in retained earnings through a cumulative-effect adjustment.
Accounting Principles for Credit Losses
The following summarizes the Corporation’s accounting policies for certain credit loss activities.
Allowance for Credit Losses
The allowance for credit losses includes both the allowance for loan and lease losses and the reserve for unfunded lending commitments and represents management’s estimate of the ECL in the Corporation’s loan and lease portfolio, excluding loans and unfunded lending commitments accounted for under the fair value option. The ECL on funded consumer and commercial loans and leases is referred to as the allowance for loan and lease losses and is reported separately as a contra-asset to loans and leases on the Consolidated Balance Sheet. The ECL for unfunded lending commitments, including home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), standby letters of credit (SBLCs) and binding unfunded loan commitments is reported on the Consolidated Balance Sheet in accrued expenses and other liabilities. The provision for credit losses related to the loan and lease portfolio and unfunded lending commitments is reported in the Consolidated Statement of Income.
For loans and leases, the ECL is typically estimated using quantitative methods that consider a variety of factors such as historical loss experience, the current credit quality of the portfolio as well as an economic outlook over the life of the loan. The life of the loan for closed-ended products is based on the contractual maturity of the loan adjusted for any expected prepayments. The contractual maturity includes any extension options that are at the sole discretion of the borrower. For open-ended products (e.g., lines of credit), the ECL is determined based on the maximum repayment term associated with future draws from credit lines unless those lines of credit are unconditionally cancellable (e.g., credit cards) in which case the Corporation does not record any allowance.
In its loss forecasting framework, the Corporation incorporates forward-looking information through the use of macroeconomic scenarios applied over the forecasted life of the assets. These macroeconomic scenarios include variables that have historically been key drivers of increases and decreases in credit losses. These variables include, but are not limited to, unemployment rates, real estate prices, gross domestic product levels, corporate bond spreads and long-term interest rate forecasts. As any one economic outlook is inherently uncertain, the Corporation leverages multiple scenarios. The scenarios that are chosen each quarter and the amount of weighting given to each scenario depend on a variety of factors including recent economic events, leading economic indicators, views of internal as well as third-party economists and industry trends.
The estimate of credit losses includes expected recoveries of amounts previously charged off (i.e., negative allowance). If a loan
has been charged off, the expected cash flows on the loan are not limited by the current amortized cost balance. Instead, expected cash flows can be assumed up to the unpaid principal balance immediately prior to the charge-off.
The allowance for loan and lease losses for troubled debt restructurings (TDR) is measured based on the present value of projected future lifetime principal and interest cash flows discounted at the loan’s original effective interest rate, or in cases where foreclosure is probable or the loan is collateral dependent, at the loan’s collateral value or its observable market price, if available. The measurement of ECL for the renegotiated consumer credit card TDR portfolio is based on the present value of projected cash flows discounted using the average TDR portfolio contractual interest rate, excluding promotionally priced loans, in effect prior to restructuring. Projected cash flows for TDRs use the same economic outlook as discussed above. For purposes of computing this specific loss component of the allowance, larger impaired loans are evaluated individually and smaller impaired loans are evaluated as a pool.
Also included in the allowance for loan and lease losses are qualitative reserves to cover losses that are expected but, in the Corporation's assessment, may not be adequately represented in the quantitative methods or the economic assumptions described above. For example, factors that the Corporation considers include changes in lending policies and procedures, business conditions, the nature and size of the portfolio, portfolio concentrations, the volume and severity of past due loans and nonaccrual loans, the effect of external factors such as competition, and legal and regulatory requirements, among others. Further, the Corporation considers the inherent uncertainty in quantitative models that are built on historical data.
With the exception of the Corporation's credit card portfolio, the Corporation does not include reserves for interest receivable in the measurement of the allowance for credit losses as the Corporation generally classifies consumer loans as nonperforming at 90 days past due and reverses interest income for these loans at that time. For credit card loans, the Corporation reserves for interest and fees as part of the allowance for loan and lease losses. Upon charge-off of a credit card loan, the Corporation reverses the interest and fee income against the income statement line item where it was originally recorded.
The Corporation has identified the following three portfolio segments and measures the allowance for credit losses using the following methods.
Consumer Real Estate
To estimate ECL for consumer loans secured by residential real estate, the Corporation estimates the number of loans that will default over the life of the existing portfolio, after factoring in estimated prepayments, using quantitative modeling methodologies. The attributes that are most significant in estimating the Corporation’s ECL include refreshed loan-to-value (LTV) or, in the case of a subordinated lien, refreshed combined LTV (CLTV), borrower credit score, months since origination and geography, all of which are further broken down by present collection status (whether the loan is current, delinquent, in default, or in bankruptcy). The estimates are based on the Corporation’s historical experience with the loan portfolio, adjusted to reflect the economic outlook. The outlook on the unemployment rate and consumer real estate prices are key factors that impact the frequency and severity of loss estimates. The Corporation does not reserve for credit losses on the unpaid principal balance of loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and long-term standby loans, as these loans are fully insured. The Corporation records a reserve for unfunded lending commitments for the ECL associated with the undrawn
portion of the Corporation’s HELOCs, which can only be canceled by the Corporation if certain criteria are met. The ECL associated with these unfunded lending commitments is calculated using the same models and methodologies noted above and incorporate utilization assumptions at time of default.
For loans that are more than 180 days past due and collateral-dependent TDRs, the Corporation bases the allowance on the estimated fair value of the underlying collateral as of the reporting date less costs to sell. The fair value of the collateral securing these loans is generally determined using an automated valuation model (AVM) that estimates the value of a property by reference to market data including sales of comparable properties and price trends specific to the Metropolitan Statistical Area in which the property being valued is located. In the event that an AVM value is not available, the Corporation utilizes publicized indices or if these methods provide less reliable valuations, the Corporation uses appraisals or broker price opinions to estimate the fair value of the collateral. While there is inherent imprecision in these valuations, the Corporation believes that they are representative of this portfolio in the aggregate.
For loans that are more than 180 days past due and collateral-dependent TDRs, with the exception of the Corporation’s fully insured portfolio, the outstanding balance of loans that is in excess of the estimated property value after adjusting for costs to sell is charged off. If the estimated property value decreases in periods subsequent to the initial charge-off, the Corporation will record an additional charge-off; however, if the value increases in periods subsequent to the charge-off, the Corporation will adjust the allowance to account for the increase but not to a level above the cumulative charge-off amount.
Credit Cards and Other Consumer
Credit cards are revolving lines of credit without a defined maturity date. The estimated life of a credit card receivable is determined by estimating the amount and timing of expected future payments (e.g., borrowers making full payments, minimum payments or somewhere in between) that it will take for a receivable balance to pay off. The ECL on the future payments incorporates the spending behavior of a borrower through time using key borrower-specific factors and the economic outlook described above. The Corporation applies all expected payments in accordance with the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (i.e., paying down the highest interest rate bucket first). Then forecasted future payments are prioritized to pay off the oldest balance until it is brought to zero or an expected charge-off amount. Unemployment rate outlook, borrower credit score, delinquency status and historical payment behavior are all key inputs into the credit card receivable loss forecasting model. Future draws on the credit card lines are excluded from the ECL as they are unconditionally cancellable.
The ECL for the consumer vehicle lending portfolio is also determined using quantitative methods supplemented with qualitative analysis. The quantitative model estimates ECL giving consideration to key borrower and loan characteristics such as delinquency status, borrower credit score, LTV ratio, underlying collateral type and collateral value.
The ECL on commercial loans is forecasted using models that estimate credit losses over the loan’s contractual life at an individual loan level. The models use the contractual terms to forecast future principal cash flows while also considering expected prepayments. For open-ended commitments such as revolving lines of credit, changes in funded balance are captured by forecasting a borrower’s draw and payment behavior over the remaining life of the commitment. For loans collateralized with
commercial real estate and for which the underlying asset is the primary source of repayment, the loss forecasting models consider key loan and customer attributes such as LTV ratio, net operating income and debt service coverage, and captures variations in behavior according to property type and region. The commercial real estate model also utilizes key economic variables to forecast market indicators such as rent levels and vacancy rates, which impact the expected credit loss estimate. For all other commercial loans and leases, the loss forecasting model determines the probabilities of transition to different credit risk ratings or default at each point over the life of the asset based on the borrower’s current credit risk rating, industry sector, size of the exposure and the geographic market. The severity of loss is determined based on the type of collateral securing the exposure, the size of the exposure, the borrower’s industry sector, any guarantors and the geographic market. Assumptions of expected loss are conditioned to the economic outlook and the model considers key economic variables such as unemployment rate, gross domestic product, credit risk spreads, asset prices and equity market returns.
In addition to the allowance for loan and lease losses, the Corporation also estimates ECL related to unfunded lending commitments such as letters of credit, financial guarantees, unfunded bankers acceptances and binding loan commitments, excluding commitments accounted for under the fair value option. Reserves are estimated for the unfunded exposure using the same models and methodologies as the funded exposure and are reported as reserves for unfunded lending commitments.
The Corporation evaluates each available-for-sale (AFS) security where the value has declined below amortized cost. If the Corporation intends to sell or believes it is more likely than not that it will be required to sell the debt security, it is written down to fair value through earnings. For AFS debt securities the Corporation intends to hold, the Corporation evaluates the debt securities for ECL except for debt securities that are guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury, U.S. government agencies or sovereign entities of high credit quality where the Corporation applies a zero credit loss assumption. For the remaining AFS debt securities, the Corporation considers qualitative parameters such as internal and external credit ratings and the value of underlying collateral. If an AFS debt security fails any of the qualitative parameters, a discounted cash flow analysis is used by the Corporation to determine if a portion of the unrealized loss is a result of a credit loss. Any credit losses determined are recognized as an increase to the allowance for credit losses through provision expense recorded in other income. Cash flows expected to be collected are estimated using all relevant information available such as, remaining payment terms, prepayment speeds, the financial condition of the issuer, expected defaults and the value of the underlying collateral. If any of the decline in fair value is related to market factors, that amount is recognized in accumulated other comprehensive income (OCI). In certain instances, the credit loss may exceed the total decline in fair value, in which case, the allowance recorded is limited to the difference between the amortized cost and the fair value of the asset.
The Corporation separately evaluates its held-to-maturity (HTM) debt securities for any credit losses, of which substantially all qualify for the zero loss assumption. For the remaining securities, the Corporation performs a discounted cash flow analysis to estimate any credit losses which are then recognized as part of the allowance for credit losses.
Other Assets
For the Corporation’s financial assets that are measured at amortized cost and are not included in debt securities or loans and leases on the Consolidated Balance Sheet, the Corporation evaluates these assets for ECL using various techniques. For assets that are subject to collateral maintenance provisions, including federal funds sold and securities borrowed or purchased under agreements to resell, where the collateral consists of daily margining of liquid and marketable assets where the margining is expected to be maintained into the foreseeable future, the expected losses are assumed to be zero. For all other assets, the Corporation performs qualitative analyses, including consideration of historical losses and current economic conditions, to estimate any ECL which are then included in a valuation account that is recorded as a contra-asset against the amortized cost basis of the financial asset.
Troubled Debt Restructurings
The Corporation has implemented various consumer and commercial loan modification programs to provide its borrowers relief from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In accordance with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the Corporation has elected to not apply TDR classification to any COVID-19 related loan modifications that were performed after March 1, 2020 to borrowers who were current as of December 31, 2019. Accordingly, these restructurings are not classified as TDRs. In addition, for loans modified in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that do not meet the above criteria (e.g., current payment status at December 31, 2019), the Corporation is applying the guidance included in an interagency statement issued by the bank regulatory agencies. This guidance states that loan modifications performed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, including loan payment deferrals that are up to six months in duration, that were granted to borrowers who were current as of the implementation date of a loan modification program or modifications granted under government mandated modification programs, are not TDRs. For loan modifications that include a payment deferral and are not TDRs, the borrower’s past due and nonaccrual status will not be impacted during the deferral period. Interest income will continue to be recognized over the contractual life of the loan. For more information on the Corporation's TDR accounting, see Note 1 – Summary of Significant Accounting Principles to the Consolidated Financial Statements of the Corporation’s 2019 Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Paycheck Protection Program
The Corporation is participating in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which is a loan program that originated from the CARES Act and was subsequently expanded by the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. The PPP is designed to provide U.S. small businesses with cash-flow assistance through loans fully guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA). If the borrower meets certain criteria and uses the proceeds towards certain eligible expenses, the borrower’s obligation to repay the loan can be forgiven up to the full principal amount of the loan and any accrued interest. Upon borrower forgiveness, the SBA pays the Corporation for the principal and accrued interest owed on the loan. If the full principal of the loan is not forgiven, the loan will operate according to the original loan terms with the 100 percent SBA guaranty remaining. As of June 30, 2020, the Corporation had funded approximately 334,000 loans under the PPP totaling $25.1 billion. As compensation for originating the loans, the Corporation receives lender processing fees from the SBA, which are
capitalized, along with the loan origination costs, and will be amortized over the loans’ contractual lives and recognized as interest income. Upon forgiveness of a loan and repayment by the SBA, any unrecognized net capitalized fees and costs related to the loan will be recognized as interest income in that period.
Accounting Principles for Goodwill
Goodwill is the purchase premium after adjusting for the fair value of net assets acquired. Goodwill is not amortized but is reviewed for potential impairment on an annual basis, or when events or circumstances indicate a potential impairment, at the reporting unit level. Beginning January 1, 2020, the Corporation adopted the new accounting standard that requires the measurement of any goodwill impairment to be based on the amount by which a reporting unit’s carrying value exceeds its fair value. If the fair value of the reporting unit exceeds its carrying value, the reporting unit’s goodwill is not considered impaired. Previously, the amount of impairment was based on a comparison of the reporting unit’s implied fair value of goodwill to the reporting unit’s assigned amount of goodwill.
During the second quarter of 2020, the Corporation performed a quantitative analysis for its annual goodwill impairment test as of June 30, 2020.  For more information on the results of the Corporation's test, see Note 7 – Goodwill and Intangible Assets. For more information on accounting for goodwill, see Note 1 – Summary of Significant Accounting Principles to the Consolidated Financial Statements of the Corporation’s 2019 Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Subsequent Events
On July 22, 2020, the U.K. enacted a repeal of the final two percent of scheduled decreases in the U.K. corporation tax rate, which had been previously enacted. This change will unfavorably affect income tax expense on future U.K. earnings, and requires a remeasurement of the Corporation's U.K. net deferred tax assets using the higher tax rate. Accordingly, during the third quarter of 2020, the Corporation will record an income tax benefit of approximately $700 million along with a corresponding increase to the U.K. net deferred tax assets.