Credit, Debit Card Spending Still Strong: Bank of America CEO
Despite uncertainties over housing prices and unemployment, the U.S. economy is "moving forward," Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan told CNBC Friday.
"The economy is still growing, consumers are still spending, our middle-market companies are still making good profits," he said from a conference in St. Petersburg, Russia. "It may not be what they thought it was going to be three months ago, but it’s still going in the right direction."
The Bank of America executive said that comparing credit and debit card data from June 2011 to the same month a year ago, "the good news is we still see solid spending by consumers." Spending is up 6 percent, he said, of which 2 percent is due to higher gasoline prices. But the remaining 4 percent growth has narrowed from the 5 percent increase seen earlier in the year.
Moynihan said the bank has expanded its international corporate banking and investment business in many countries, including Russia, over the past two to three years. "It's a core investment for us," he said. "We serve large companies in the trading partners around the world and we’ll continue to do that."
Back in the U.S., he said, Bank of America doesn't need to raise capital immediately under Securities Investor Protection Corporation rules in the works "in the sense that we can build capital over time. There are phase-in periods for this and we’ve been clear about this with investors."
He added, "We need to make sure we balance the interests of making sure it never happens again, so to speak, with making sure the capital elements aren’t set too high that they actually hold off growth."