Wells Fargo Living Up To “AAA” Ratings (WFC)

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Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is following Jamie Dimon’s lead this morning with better results than other banks.  The only "AAA" rated bank posted $0.49 EPS vs. $0.41 estimates.  Revenues were $10.38 billion versus $10.96 billion estimates.  It is also still growing if you can believe it in this environment.

The company put loss provisions at $2.5 billion and its net charge-offswere $2 billion (up from $892 million last year). It built its creditreserve by $500 million to make its total credit loss allowance as $8.0billion.  It also took previously announced impairment charges of $646million for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Lehman Brothers.

Year to date revenues are up 11% and its average loans are up 15% fromlast year and 13% from last quarter.  Its average earnings assets wereup 15% from the prior year and up 13% from last quarter.  There wasdefinitely a flight to quality institutions going on since the firm saidit saw a flood of deposits coming from new account holders with assetsat less secure banks.  Core deposits rose 10% year over year but wereup an astounding 30% on an annualized basis from the end of lastquarter.

Despite the write-downs and despite the turmoil, Wells Fargo posted a5% revenue gain from last year’s quarter.  It also grew its Tier-1capital to 8.58% from a level of 8.24% just last quarter.

These numbers would have been met with more skepticism in the past,particularly as many "criteria" have been changed.  But when you lookat the overall environment, you will know why this is one of only twopersonal stock holdings directly owned by Warren Buffett’s personalaccount. Here are the full public equity holdings of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

Shares closed at $33.52 yesterday and shares are indicated upmarginally before the open.  Today is marked by profit taking more thanany new major woes hitting the tape.

Jon C. Ogg
October 15, 2008