This pricing supplement, which is not complete and may be changed, relates to an effective Registration Statement under the Securities Act of 1933. This pricing supplement and the accompanying prospectus supplement and prospectus are not an offer to sell these notes in any country or jurisdiction where such an offer would not be permitted.
|Preliminary Pricing Supplement - Subject to Completion
|Filed Pursuant to Rule 424(b)(2)
|(To Prospectus dated June 29, 2018
|Registration Statement No. 333-224523
|and Series N Prospectus Supplement dated June 29, 2018)
|March 27, 2019
Floating Rate Notes Linked to the 2-Year U.S. Dollar ICE Swap Rate, due April , 2022
|The notes are senior unsecured debt securities issued by Bank of America Corporation (“BAC”). All payments and the return of the principal amount on the notes are subject to our credit risk.
|The CUSIP number for the notes is 06048WZN3.
|The notes are expected to price on April , 2019.
|The notes will mature on April , 2022. At maturity, you will receive a cash payment equal to 100% of the principal amount of your notes, plus any accrued and unpaid interest.
|Interest will be paid on January , April , July  and October , of each year, beginning on July , 2019, and with the final interest payment occurring on the maturity date.
|From, and including, the issue date to, but excluding, the maturity date, the notes will bear interest at a floating rate equal to the 2-Year U.S. Dollar ICE Swap Rate (which we refer to as “CMS2”) plus the spread of 0.40% per annum. The floating interest rate will not be less than 0.00%.
|We will not have the option to redeem the notes prior to maturity.
|The notes are issued in minimum denominations of $1,000 and whole multiples of $1,000.
|The notes will not be listed on any securities exchange.
|The initial estimated value of the notes will be less than the public offering price. As of the pricing date, the initial estimated value of the notes is expected to be between $960.00 and $990.00 per $1,000 in principal amount. See “Summary of Terms” beginning on page PS-2 of this pricing supplement, “Risk Factors” beginning on page PS-5 of this pricing supplement and “Structuring the Notes” on page PS-13 of this pricing supplement for additional information. The actual value of your notes at any time will reflect many factors and cannot be predicted with accuracy.
|Are Not FDIC Insured
|Are Not Bank Guaranteed
|May Lose Value
|Public Offering Price(1)
|Proceeds (before expenses) to BAC
|Certain dealers who purchase the notes for sale to certain fee-based advisory accounts may forgo some or all of their selling concessions, fees or commissions. The price to public for investors purchasing the notes in these accounts may be as low as $997.50 (99.75%) per $1,000 in principal amount of the notes. See “Supplemental Plan of Distribution—Conflicts of Interest” in this pricing supplement.
|We or one of our affiliates may pay varying selling concessions of up to 1.00% in connection with the distribution of the notes to other registered broker dealers.
We will deliver the notes in book-entry form only through The Depository Trust Company on or about April , 2019 against payment in immediately available funds.
BofA Merrill Lynch
Your investment in the notes entails significant risks, many of which differ from those of a conventional security. Your decision to purchase the notes should be made only after carefully considering the risks of an investment in the notes, including those discussed below, with your advisors in light of your particular circumstances. The notes are not an appropriate investment for you if you are not knowledgeable about significant elements of the notes or financial matters in general.
The notes will pay interest at a floating rate that may be as low as 0.00% on one or more interest payment dates. The rate at which the notes will bear interest during each quarterly interest period will depend on CMS2 on the applicable interest determination date. As a result, the interest payable on the notes will vary with fluctuations in CMS2, subject to the minimum interest rate of 0.00% per annum. It is impossible to predict whether CMS2 will rise or fall, or the amount of interest payable on the notes. You may receive minimal interest, or possibly even no interest, for extended periods of time or even throughout the remaining term of the notes. The interest rate that will apply at any time on the notes may be more or less than other prevailing market interest rates at such time. As a result, the amount of interest you receive on the notes may be less than the return you could earn on other investments.
Payments on the notes are subject to our credit risk, and actual or perceived changes in our creditworthiness are expected to affect the value of the notes. The notes are our senior unsecured debt securities. As a result, your receipt of all payments of interest and principal on the notes is dependent upon our ability to repay our obligations on the applicable payment date. No assurance can be given as to what our financial condition will be at any time during the term of the notes or on the maturity date. If we become unable to meet our financial obligations as they become due, you may not receive the amounts payable under the terms of the notes.
Our credit ratings are an assessment by ratings agencies of our ability to pay our obligations. Consequently, our perceived creditworthiness and actual or anticipated decreases in our credit ratings or increases in our credit spreads prior to the maturity date of the notes may adversely affect the market value of the notes. However, because your return on the notes depends upon factors in addition to our ability to pay our obligations, such as the difference between the interest rates accruing on the notes and current market interest rates, an improvement in our credit ratings will not reduce the other investment risks related to the notes.
The public offering price you pay for the notes will exceed their initial estimated value. The initial estimated value of the notes that is provided in this preliminary pricing supplement, and that will be provided in the final pricing supplement, are each an estimate only, determined as of a particular point in time by reference to our and our affiliates’ pricing models. These pricing models consider certain assumptions and variables, including our credit spreads, our internal funding rate, mid-market terms on hedging transactions, expectations on interest rates and volatility, price-sensitivity analysis, and the expected term of the notes. These pricing models rely in part on certain forecasts about future events, which may prove to be incorrect.
The initial estimated value does not represent a minimum or maximum price at which we, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (“MLPF&S”) or any of our affiliates would be willing to purchase your notes in any secondary market (if any exists) at any time. The value of your notes at any time after the date of this pricing supplement will vary based on many factors that cannot be predicted with accuracy, including our creditworthiness and changes in market conditions.
The quoted price of any of our affiliates for the notes could be higher or lower than the price that you paid for them.
If you attempt to sell the notes prior to maturity, their market value may be lower than the price you paid for them and lower than their initial estimated value. This is due to, among
other things, changes in the level of market interest rates, our internal funding rate, and the inclusion in the public offering price of the underwriting discount and the hedging related charges, all as further described in "Structuring the Notes" on page PS-13. These factors, together with various credit, market and economic factors over the term of the notes, are expected to reduce the price at which you may be able to sell the notes in any secondary market and will affect the value of the notes in complex and unpredictable ways.
We cannot assure you that a trading market for the notes will ever develop or be maintained. We will not list the notes on any securities exchange. We cannot predict how the notes will trade in any secondary market, or whether that market will be liquid or illiquid.
The development of a trading market for the notes will depend on our financial performance and other factors. The number of potential buyers of the notes in any secondary market may be limited. We anticipate that MLPF&S will act as a market-maker for the notes, but neither MLPF&S nor any of our other affiliates is required to do so. MLPF&S may discontinue its market-making activities as to the notes at any time. To the extent that MLPF&S engages in any market-making activities, it may bid for or offer the notes. Any price at which MLPF&S may bid for, offer, purchase, or sell any notes may differ from the values determined by pricing models that it may use, whether as a result of dealer discounts, mark-ups, or other transaction costs. These bids, offers, or completed transactions may affect the prices, if any, at which the notes might otherwise trade in the market.
In addition, if at any time MLPF&S were to cease acting as a market-maker for the notes, it is likely that there would be significantly less liquidity in the secondary market and there may be no secondary market at all for the notes. In such a case, the price at which the notes could be sold likely would be lower than if an active market existed and you should be prepared to hold the notes until maturity.
Many economic and other factors will impact the market value of the notes. The market for, and the market value of, the notes may be affected by a number of factors that may either offset or magnify each other, including:
|the time remaining to maturity of the notes;
|the aggregate amount outstanding of the notes;
|the level, direction, and volatility of market interest rates generally (in particular, increases in U.S. interest rates, which may cause the market value of the notes to decrease);
|general economic conditions of the capital markets in the United States;
|geopolitical conditions and other financial, political, regulatory, and judicial events that affect the capital markets generally;
|our financial condition and creditworthiness; and
|any market-making activities with respect to the notes.
Our trading and hedging activities may create conflicts of interest with you. We or one or more of our affiliates, including MLPF&S, may engage in trading activities related to the notes that are not for your account or on your behalf. We expect to enter into arrangements to hedge the market risks associated with our obligation to pay the amounts due under the notes. We may seek competitive terms in entering into the hedging arrangements for the notes, but are not required to do so, and we may enter into such hedging arrangements with one of our subsidiaries or affiliates. This hedging activity is expected to result in a profit to those engaging in the hedging activity, which could be more or less than initially expected, but which could also result in a loss for the hedging counterparty. These trading and hedging activities may present a conflict of interest between your interest in the notes and the interests we and our affiliates may have in our proprietary accounts, in facilitating transactions for our other customers, and in accounts under our management.
You must rely on your own evaluation of the merits of an investment linked to CMS2. In the ordinary course of their businesses, we or our affiliates may have expressed views on expected movements in CMS2 and related interest rates, and may do so in the future. These views or reports may be communicated to our clients and clients of our affiliates. However, these views are subject to change from time to time. Moreover, other professionals who deal in markets relating to CMS2 may at any time have significantly different views from those of ours or our affiliates. For these reasons, you are encouraged to derive information concerning CMS2 and related interest rates from multiple sources, and you should not rely on the views expressed by us or our affiliates.
Neither the offering of the notes nor any views which we or our affiliates from time to time may express in the ordinary course of their businesses constitutes a recommendation as to the merits of an investment in the notes.
Recent regulatory investigations regarding potential manipulation of CMS2 rates may adversely affect your notes. It has been reported that certain U.S. and non-U.S. regulators are investigating potential manipulation of CMS2 and other swap rates. If such manipulation occurred, it may have resulted in CMS2 being artificially lower (or higher) than it would otherwise have been. Any changes or reforms affecting the determination or supervision of CMS2 in light of these investigations may result in a sudden or prolonged decrease in reported CMS2, which may have an adverse impact on the trading market for CMS-benchmarked securities, such as your notes, the market value of your notes and the payments on your notes.
Uncertainty about the future of LIBOR and the potential discontinuance of LIBOR may adversely affect the value of the notes. CMS2 is based on a hypothetical interest rate swap referencing 3-month U.S. dollar LIBOR. The Chief Executive of the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”), which regulates LIBOR, has recently announced that the FCA intends to stop persuading or compelling banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. At this time, it is not possible to predict the effect of any such changes on 3-month U.S. dollar LIBOR and, therefore, CMS2. Uncertainty as to the nature of such potential changes or other reforms may adversely affect the payments on the notes, and accordingly, the value of and the trading market for the notes.
If on an interest determination date, CMS2 is not quoted on the Reuters Screen ICESWAP1 Page (or any successor page) because of the unavailability of 3-month U.S. dollar LIBOR or otherwise, then the calculation agent will determine CMS2 using the alternative methods set forth on PS-3 under “Summary of Terms—Unavailability of CMS2.” If, as set forth on PS-3, a published CMS2 is unavailable and swap rate dealers are unwilling to provide quotations for the calculation of CMS2, then CMS2 will be determined by the calculation agent, in its sole discretion, and in a fair and reasonable manner. CMS2 determined in this manner may be different from the rate that would have been published on the applicable Reuters page and may be different from other published levels, or other estimated levels, of CMS2. The exercise of this discretion by the calculation agent could adversely affect the value of, payments on and trading market for the notes and may present the calculation agent, which is an affiliate of BAC, with a conflict of interest.
CMS2 is a “constant maturity swap rate” that measures the fixed rate of interest payable on a hypothetical fixed-for-floating U.S. dollar interest rate swap transaction with a maturity of 2 years. In such a hypothetical swap transaction, the fixed rate of interest, payable semi-annually on the basis of a 360-day year consisting of twelve 30-day months, is exchangeable for a floating 3-month LIBOR-based payment stream that is payable quarterly on the basis of the actual number of days elapsed during a quarterly period in a 360-day year. “LIBOR” is the London Interbank Offered Rate and is a common rate of interest used in the swaps industry.
Historical Levels of CMS2
The following graph sets forth the historical performance of the CMS2 based on the daily historical levels from January 1, 2008 through March 26, 2019. We obtained the rates below from the Bloomberg Professional Services. We have not undertaken any independent review of, or made any due diligence inquiry with respect to, the information obtained from the Bloomberg Professional Services. The rates displayed in the graph below are for illustrative purposes only.
The rates reported by the Bloomberg Professional Services may not be indicative of the CMS2 that will be derived from the applicable Reuters page.
U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX SUMMARY
The following summary of the material U.S. federal income tax considerations of the acquisition, ownership, and disposition of the notes is based upon the advice of Sidley Austin LLP, our tax counsel. The following discussion supplements, and to the extent inconsistent supersedes, the discussions under “U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations” in the accompanying prospectus and under “U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations” in the accompanying prospectus supplement and is not exhaustive of all possible tax considerations. This summary is based upon the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), regulations promulgated under the Code by the U.S. Treasury Department (“Treasury”) (including proposed and temporary regulations), rulings, current administrative interpretations and official pronouncements of the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), and judicial decisions, all as currently in effect and all of which are subject to differing interpretations or to change, possibly with retroactive effect. No assurance can be given that the IRS would not assert, or that a court would not sustain, a position contrary to any of the tax consequences described below. This summary does not include any description of the tax laws of any state or local governments, or of any foreign government, that may be applicable to a particular holder.
This summary is directed solely to U.S. Holders and Non-U.S. Holders that, except as otherwise specifically noted, will purchase the notes upon original issuance and will hold the notes as capital assets within the meaning of Section 1221 of the Code, which generally means property held for investment, and that are not excluded from the discussion under “U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations” in the accompanying prospectus. This discussion does not address the tax consequences applicable to holders subject to Section 451(b) of the Code. This summary assumes that the issue price of the notes, as determined for U.S. federal income tax purposes, equals the principal amount thereof.
You should consult your own tax advisor concerning the U.S. federal income tax consequences to you of acquiring, owning, and disposing of the notes, as well as any tax consequences arising under the laws of any state, local, foreign, or other tax jurisdiction and the possible effects of changes in U.S. federal or other tax laws.
The notes will be treated as “variable rate debt instruments” for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Under this characterization, interest on a note generally will be included in the income of a U.S. Holder as ordinary income at the time it is accrued or is received in accordance with the U.S. Holder’s regular method of accounting for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Please see the discussion in the prospectus under the section entitled “U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations—Taxation of Debt Securities—Consequences to U.S. Holders—Variable Rate Debt Securities” for a discussion of these rules.
Upon the sale, exchange, retirement, or other disposition of a note, a U.S. Holder will recognize gain or loss equal to the difference between the amount realized upon the sale, exchange, retirement, or other disposition (less an amount equal to any accrued interest not previously included in income if the note is disposed of between interest payment dates, which will be included in income as interest income for U.S. federal income tax purposes) and the U.S. Holder’s adjusted tax basis in the note. A U.S. Holder’s adjusted tax basis in a note generally will be the cost of the note to such U.S. Holder. Any gain or loss realized on the sale, exchange, retirement, or other disposition of a note generally will be capital gain or loss and will be long-term capital gain or loss if the note has been held for more than one year. The ability of U.S. Holders to deduct capital losses is subject to limitations under the Code.
Please see the discussion under “U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations—Taxation of Debt Securities—Consequences to Non-U.S. Holders” in the accompanying prospectus for the material U.S. federal income tax consequences that will apply to Non-U.S. Holders of the notes.
Backup Withholding and Information Reporting
Please see the discussion under “U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations—Taxation of Debt Securities—Backup Withholding and Information Reporting” in the accompanying prospectus for a description of the applicability of the backup withholding and information reporting rules to payments made on the notes.
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”)
The discussion in the accompanying prospectus under “U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations – Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act” is hereby modified to reflect regulations proposed by Treasury indicating its intent to eliminate the requirements under FATCA of withholding on gross proceeds from the sale, exchange, maturity or other disposition of relevant financial instruments. Treasury has indicated that taxpayers may rely on these proposed regulations pending their finalization.
SUPPLEMENTAL PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION—conflicts of interest
Our broker-dealer subsidiary, MLPF&S, will act as our selling agent in connection with the offering of the notes. The selling agent is a party to the Distribution Agreement described in the “Supplemental Plan of Distribution (Conflicts of Interest)” beginning on page S-18 of the accompanying prospectus supplement.
The selling agent will receive the compensation set forth on the cover page of this pricing supplement as to the notes sold through its efforts. We or one of our affiliates may pay varying selling concessions of up to 1.00% in connection with the distribution of the notes to other registered broker-dealers. Certain dealers who purchase the notes for sale to certain fee-based advisory accounts may forgo some or all of their selling concessions, fees or commissions. The price to public for investors purchasing the notes in these accounts may be as low as $997.50 (99.75%) per $1,000 in principal amount of the notes.
The selling agent is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”). Accordingly, the offering of the notes will conform to the requirements of FINRA Rule 5121.
The selling agent is not acting as your fiduciary or advisor solely as a result of the offering of the notes, and you should not rely upon any communication from the selling agent in connection with the notes as investment advice or a recommendation to purchase the notes. You should make your own investment decision regarding the notes after consulting with your legal, tax, and other advisors.
Under the terms of our distribution agreement with MLPF&S, MLPF&S will purchase the notes from us on the issue date as principal at the purchase price indicated on the cover of this pricing supplement, less the indicated underwriting discount.
MLPF&S may sell the notes to other broker-dealers that will participate in the offering and that are not affiliated with us, at an agreed discount to the principal amount. Each of those broker-dealers may sell the notes to one or more additional broker-dealers. MLPF&S has informed us that these discounts may vary from dealer to dealer and that not all dealers will purchase or repurchase the notes at the same discount.
The current business of MLPF&S is expected to be reorganized into two affiliated broker-dealers: MLPF&S and a new broker-dealer, BofA Securities, Inc. (“BofAS”). Under the contemplated reorganization, BofAS would become the new legal entity for the institutional services that are now provided by MLPF&S. MLPF&S would assign its rights and obligations as selling agent for the notes under our distribution agreement to BofAS effective on the “Transfer Date”. Accordingly, if the pricing date of the notes occurs on or after the Transfer Date, BofAS will be responsible for the pricing of the notes. If the settlement date of the notes occurs on or after the Transfer Date, BofAS will, subject to the terms and conditions of the distribution agreement, purchase the notes from us as principal on the settlement date and BofAMLS will sell the notes to other broker-dealers that will participate in the offering as discussed in the prior paragraph.
MLPF&S and any of our other broker-dealer affiliates may use this pricing supplement, and the accompanying prospectus supplement and prospectus for offers and sales in secondary market transactions and market-making transactions in the notes. However, they are not obligated to engage in such secondary market transactions and/or market-making transactions. Our affiliates may act as principal or agent in these transactions, and any such sales will be made at prices related to prevailing market prices at the time of the sale.
At MLPF&S’s discretion, for a short undetermined initial period after the issuance of the notes, MLPF&S may offer to buy the notes in the secondary market at a price that may exceed the initial estimated value of the notes. Any price offered by MLPF&S for the notes will be based on then-prevailing market conditions and other considerations, including the level of the CMS2 and the remaining term of the notes. However, none of us, MLPF&S or any of our other
affiliates is obligated to purchase your notes at any price or at any time, and we cannot assure you that any party will purchase your notes at a price that equals or exceeds the initial estimated value of the notes.
No Prospectus (as defined in Directive 2003/71/EC (as amended, the “Prospectus Directive”)) will be prepared in connection with these notes. Accordingly, these notes may not be offered to the public in any member state of the European Economic Area (“EEA”), and any purchaser of these notes who subsequently sells any of these notes in any EEA member state must do so only in accordance with the requirements of the Prospectus Directive, as implemented in that member state.
The notes are not intended to be offered, sold or otherwise made available to, and should not be offered, sold or otherwise made available to, any retail investor in the EEA. For these purposes, the expression “offer" includes the communication in any form and by any means of sufficient information on the terms of the offer and the notes to be offered so as to enable an investor to decide to purchase or subscribe the notes, and a “retail investor” means a person who is one (or more) of: (a) a retail client, as defined in point (11) of Article 4(1) of Directive 2014/65/EU (as amended, "MiFID II"); or (b) a customer, within the meaning of Directive 2002/92/EC, as amended, where that customer would not qualify as a professional client as defined in point (10) of Article 4(1) of MiFID II; or (c) not a qualified investor as defined in the Prospectus Directive. Consequently, no key information document required by Regulation (EU) No 1286/2014 (as amended, the “PRIIPs Regulation”) for offering or selling the notes or otherwise making them available to retail investors in the EEA has been prepared, and therefore, offering or selling the notes or otherwise making them available to any retail investor in the EEA may be unlawful under the PRIIPs Regulation.
As discussed above under “Supplemental Plan of Distribution-Conflicts Of Interest”, the current business of MLPF&S is expected to be reorganized into two affiliated broker-dealers. Effective on the Transfer Date, BofAS will be the new legal entity for the institutional services that are now provided by MLPF&S. As such, beginning on the Transfer Date, the institutional services currently being provided by MLPF&S, including acting as selling agent for the notes, acting as principal or agent in secondary market-making transactions for the notes, estimating the value of the notes using pricing models, and entering into hedging arrangements with respect to the notes, are expected to be provided by BofAS. Accordingly, references to MLPF&S in this preliminary pricing supplement as such references relate to MLPF&S's institutional services, such as those described above, should be read as references to BofAS to the extent these services are to be performed on or after the Transfer Date.
STRUCTURING THE NOTES
The notes are our debt securities, the return on which is linked to the performance of CMS2. As is the case for all of our debt securities, including our market-linked notes, the economic terms of the notes reflect our actual or perceived creditworthiness at the time of pricing. In addition, because market-linked notes result in increased operational, funding and liability management costs to us, we typically borrow the funds under these notes at a rate that is more favorable to us than the rate that we might pay for a conventional fixed or floating rate debt security. This generally relatively lower internal funding rate, which is reflected in the economic terms of the notes, along with the fees and charges associated with market-linked notes, typically results in the initial estimated value of the notes at the time the terms of the notes are set and on the pricing date being less than their public offering price.
In order to meet our payment obligations on the notes, at the time we issue the notes, we may choose to enter into certain hedging arrangements (which may include call options, put options or other derivatives) with MLPF&S or one of its affiliates. The terms of these hedging arrangements are determined based upon terms provided by MLP&S and its affiliates, and take into account a number of factors, including our creditworthiness, interest rate movements, the volatility of the CMS2, the tenor of the notes and the hedging arrangements. The economic terms of the notes and their initial estimated value depend in part on the terms of these hedging arrangements.
MLPF&S has advised us that the hedging arrangements will include hedging related charges, reflecting the costs associated with, and our affiliates’ profit earned from, these hedging arrangements. Since hedging entails risk and may be influenced by unpredictable market forces, actual profits or losses from these hedging transactions may be more or less than this amount.
For further information, see “Risk Factors” beginning on page PS-5 of this pricing supplement.