Bank of America tops 4Q profit forecasts
This Monday, July 18, 2016, photo shows a Bank of America ATM in Woburn, Mass. On Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, Bank of America Corp. reports financial results. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Bank of America’s fourth-quarter profit jumped 47 percent from a year ago as the nation’s largest consumer bank benefited from higher interest rates and lower expenses.

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank said it earned a profit of $4.34 billion after payments to preferred shareholders, or 40 cents per share, up from $2.95 billion, or 27 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. The results topped analysts’ expectations, who were looking for 38 cents per share, according to FactSet.

In BofA’s consumer banking division, the bank’s largest business by profit and revenue, had net income of $1.92 billion in the quarter, compared with $1.74 billion in the same period a year earlier. The business had been helped by higher interest rates, as net interest income rose from $5.23 billion to $5.47 billion year over year.

Like many consumer banks,…