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Bank of America Q1 earnings fall amid higher loan loss reserves

Bank of America Corp. reported a 45% decline in first-quarter earnings as it set aside a $3.6 billion reserve for potential loan losses. 

The bank said earnings fell to $4 billion, or 40 cents a share, compared with $7.3 billion or 70 cents in the year-ago quarter. Wall Street analysts had expected earnings to come in at 48 cents a share.

Revenue fell slightly to $22.8 billion from $23 billion in the year-ago quarter.

"Our results reflect the strength of our balance sheet, the diversity of our earnings and the resilience of our teammates to serve clients around the world," chairman and CEO Bryan Moynihan, said in a press release. "Despite increasing our loan loss reserves, we earned $4 billion this quarter, maintained a significant buffer against our most stringent capital requirements and ended the quarter with more liquidity than when we began."

The bank said it received 279,000 small business loan applications through April 8, under the Paycheck Protection Program, totaling $43 billion.

It also reported one million consumer payment deferrals, also through April 8. 

The bank reported a 6% increase in active digital banking users to 39.1 million, while active mobile banking users rose 10% to 29.8 million, compared with the year-ago quarter.

There were 10.4 million active Zelle users, which now includes small businesses. The users sent and received 102 million in funds transfers, worth $27 million, an increase of 73%.