BofA CEO says consumer spending bounce signals pent-up demand

Bank of America said the economy is on much more solid footing than it was in the early days of the pandemic.

Customer spending in January is up 9% from last year, and those who’ve received stimulus checks are largely boosting their savings, Chief Executive Brian Moynihan said in an interview Tuesday on CNBC.

“The economy keeps moving forward and we feel very constructive about the consumer activity,” Moynihan said. “People are spending money, people are engaging in the economy differently” given virus restrictions, he said.

Brian Moynihan.

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

While there are burgeoning signs of pent-up client demand, Moynihan called for more economic assistance for the millions of unemployed people and shuttered businesses in industries such as travel, leisure and entertainment. State and local municipalities also need help to plug holes in their budgets.

It’s premature to worry about potential inflation spurred by government spending on stimulus programs, Moynihan said. Instead, the biggest priority should be getting the economy back on track.

“If the U.S. economy doesn’t grow, the rest of the world’s in trouble,” he said.

Here are other takeaways from the interview:

  • The Charlotte, N.C.-based lender will invest about $150 million in 40 investment funds in 21 U.S. markets as part of its efforts to advance racial equality.
  • It also took equity stakes in two more minority-focused lenders, Broadway Financial Corp. and MNB Ventures Inc., bringing the total to 12.
  • Earlier Tuesday, the bank announced it will start using a set of ESG metrics to measure pay equality, board diversity and greenhouse-gas emissions alongside 61 global companies.


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