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ank of America reported a sharp rise in third-quarter earnings on Wednesday, but its mortgage operations faltered, underscoring that home loans remain a challenging business for the nation’s banks.
Bank of America said its quarterly profit rose to $2.5 billion, or 20 cents a share, from $340 million in the period a year earlier, when the bank was hit by litigation expenses and other charges.

Excluding a type of financial charge that investors often ignore, third-quarter revenue f
ell slightly, to $22.2 billion, from $22.5 billion in the period a year earlier. Other large banks have also reported a decline in their top lines, an indication that, five years after the financial crisis, they are still struggling to expand their businesses.
Analysts expected the company to earn 19 cents a share in the latest quarter. Bruce Thompson, Bank of America’s chief financial officer, said on Wednesday that it was fair to compare the estimates to the 20 cents a share that the bank reported.
“We made very good progress in an environment that did have its challenges,” Mr. Thompson said.
Bank of America’s wealth management operations, which contain Merrill Lynch, were a source of strength, posting $719 million of net income, a 26 percent jump from a year earlier.

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