Its shares fell more than 3 per cent in morning trading.
The bank earned $3.05 billion, or 25 cents a share, for the three-month period ending in December, compared with a profit of $3.44 billion, or 29 cents a share, a year earlier.
It had three one-time items that lowered its quarterly earnings by 7 cents a share. Those items were tied to the valuation of the bank's debt and other underlying securities. Rival banks have also readjusted the value of similar items to deal with new accounting rules following the financial crisis.
Total revenue at Bank of America fell 12.6 per cent to $18.96 billion.
The results fell short of estimates, with analysts surveyed by FactSet expecting earnings of 31 cents a share on revenue of $21.08 billion.
Like JPMorgan Chase, who reported its results Wednesday, Bank of America reported a drop in quarterly fixed-income trading revenue to $1.5 billion from $19 billion a year earlier. The decline was tied to a slowdown in client trading activity, the bank said.
For the full year, Bank of America earned $3.79 billion, a drop from $10.08 billion in 2013. Most of that drop in profit came from legal expenses of $16.4 billion, primarily a result of BofA settling lawsuits and investigations into its role in the housing bubble and financial crisis.
Shares of Bank of America Corp. fell 59 cents, or 3.7 per cent, to $15.46 in morning trading. The bank's shares are down more than 9 per cent over the past year.