Is This Wells Fargo’s Comeback Quarter?

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Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) released its first-quarter earnings report before the markets opened on Friday. The bank said that it had $1.12 in earnings per share (EPS) on $21.9 billion in revenue, which compares with consensus estimates of $1.07 in EPS on revenue of $21.75 billion. In the same period of last year, EPS was said to be $1.00 and revenue at $22.0 billion.

During the quarter, total average loans were $951.0 billion, down $798 million from the fourth quarter. Also, period-end loan balances were $947.3 billion at March 31, down $9.5 billion sequentially.

At the same time, total average deposits for first quarter 2018 were $1.3 trillion, down $14.4 billion from the prior quarter. The decline was driven by a decrease in commercial deposits, primarily from financial institutions.

The company did not issue any guidance. However, Thomson Reuters has consensus estimates for the current quarter of $1.18 in EPS on $22.1 billion in revenue.

Tim Sloan, CEO of Wells Fargo, commented:

I’m confident that our outstanding team will continue to transform Wells Fargo into a better, stronger company; however, we recognize that it will take time to put all of our challenges behind us. During the first quarter our team members continued to focus on our vision of satisfying our customers’ financial needs and helping them succeed financially. We also made progress on our priority of rebuilding trust with our customers, team members, communities, regulators, and shareholders. The efforts to build a better Wells Fargo during the quarter included continuing to improve our compliance and operational risk management programs, investing in innovative products and services that enhance the customer experience including the roll-out of our digital mortgage application and predictive banking service, and increasing the minimum hourly pay rate for U.S.-based team members. We also began executing on our goal to increase donations to nonprofit and community organizations by approximately 40 percent in 2018, and we’re proud that Wells Fargo was recently named number one in U.S. workplace giving for the ninth consecutive year by United Way Worldwide. In addition, we continued to make progress on our expense savings initiatives and remain on track to achieve our target of $4 billion in expense reductions by the end of 2019.

Shares of Wells Fargo were last seen down less than 2% to $51.81 early Friday. The company has a consensus analyst price target of $63.15 and a 52-week trading range of $49.27 to $66.31.