Wells Fargo Earnings Helped by Loan Growth, Higher Interest Rates

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Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) reported fiscal fourth-quarter and full-year results before markets opened Friday morning. The banking giant posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.96 on revenue of $21.6 billion for the quarter. In the same period a year ago, Wells Fargo reported EPS of $1.00 on revenue of $21.6 billion. Net income rose fell from $5.6 billion a year ago to $5.3 billion in the quarter. Fourth-quarter results compare to the consensus estimates for EPS of $1.00 on revenue of $22.45 billion.

For the full year, the bank reported EPS of $3.99 on revenues of $88.3 billion. In 2015 EPS came in at $4.12 and revenues totaled $86.1 billion. Analysts were looking for EPS of $4.03 and revenues of $89.14 billion.

The bank was hit in September with claims that it had opened more than 2 million fictitious or unauthorized accounts, and it agreed to settle the charges for a payment of $185 million.

Wells Fargo’s tier 1 common equity ratio (fully phased-in) of Basel III is 10.7%.

Average loans rose by $6.6 billion sequentially to $964.1 billion in the quarter, but growth was affected by deconsolidation of some previously sold reverse mortgage loans and lower first mortgages on one- to four-family properties. Year over year, the average rose by $51.8 billion in the quarter. For the year, average loans rose by $64.6 billion to $950 billion.

Net loan charge-offs rose from $805 million in the third quarter to $905 million, or an annualized rate of 0.37%.

The bank’s CEO, Tim Sloan, said:

We continued to make progress in the fourth quarter in rebuilding the trust of our customers, team members and other key stakeholders. I am pleased with the progress we have made in customer remediation, the ongoing review of sales practices across the company and fulfilling our regulatory requirements for sales practices matters.

The bank did not offer guidance in its press release, but the consensus estimates call for first-quarter EPS of $0.96 on revenues of $22.29 billion. The EPS estimate for the 2017 fiscal year is $4.16, and revenues are forecast at $91.69 billion.

Shares traded down about 0.6% in Friday’s premarket to $54.20. The current 52-week range is $43.55 to $58.02. The 12-month consensus price target was $57.83 before the results were announced.