Rising interest rates and the incoming administration’s pro-growth policies will help major financial institutions in the coming years, Bank of America Chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan told CNBC on Tuesday.
“Faster growth, that’s good for Bank of America. Higher interest rate structure, that’s good for Bank of America,” Moynihan said in a wide-ranging interview on “Squawk on the Street.” He said the bank has built its business model on the expectation that rates will rise soon. Federal Reserve policymakers are expected to announce a rate hike on Dec. 14, the first in a year and the second in a decade.
And that’s not even factoring in President-elect Donald Trump’s call to roll back regulations on banks, which Moynihan said may remove hurdles that deterred investors from doling out capital as freely as they wanted.
More capital for banks means more capital released to their shareholders and more loans given out, and as a result, banks can help drive the economy upward, Moynihan said.
“If you think about those types of things, it’s no surprise that we’ve pushed up hard” in the market, he said.
Now, as an interest rate hike becomes more likely, Moynihan said the next step for financial institutions should be to manage their costs in preparation for the hike’s intended effects, which include cost-related pressure.
Upward pressure on costs stems from more client-driven investment activity and higher inflation, which Moynihan said Bank of America has built in to its forward-facing business model.
“You have to be able to walk and chew gum,” Moynihan said, referring to the balancing act banks undergo when they make strategic investments to position themselves to absorb future costs while maintaining an effective rate structure.
The CEO said Bank of America is also investing in technology to make better products for customers and drive productivity.
Not only can workers become more productive with more advanced technology, but operations like storing data and developing a company can become much more efficient, Moynihan said.
Fewer data centers, lower investments in architecture and a broad-scale move from paper to electronic storage for data and cash are all benefits of tech investment despite the sector’s postelection dip, he contended.
“[Better tech means] better future functionality for the clients and the customers, and that’s what we’re driving,” Moynihan said.