Bank of America Corp. reported Thursday earning $367 million for shareholders in the fourth quarter, or 3 cents per share.

That s down from a profit of $1.6 billion for shareholders in the same quarter last year. But the Charlotte bank s performance likely would have exceeded that had it not been for two massive legal settlements. Both were announced Jan. 7.

The bank agreed to pay more than $10 billion to settle a long-running dispute with mortgage giant Fannie Mae over millions of loans sold by Countrywide Financial Corp. to be bundled into securities.

Bank of America also agreed to pay $1.1 billion and provide another $1.8 billion in loan relief to customers to end the independent foreclosure review mandated by an earlier settlement with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve.

When those were announced, the bank said it expected its earnings to be modestly positive.

We addressed significant legacy issues in 2012 and our strengths are coming through, Chief Financial Officer Bruce Thompson said in a statement Thursday. Capital and liquidity remain strong and credit continues to improve. Our primary focus this year is to grow revenue, manage expenses and drive core earnings growth.

Bank of America s full-year 2012 earnings came in at $2.8 billion for shareholders, up from $85 million in 2011.

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