Wells Fargo released its first-quarter earnings today, reporting net income of $2 billion, or 60 cents per share, compared with profit of $2.24 billion, or 66 cents per share, a year earlier.
The San Francisco-based bank and mortgage lender also saw revenue rise 12 percent from the first quarter of 2007 to a record $10.6 billion.
First quarter net charge-offs were $1.5 billion (1.60 percent of average total loans, annualized) compared with $1.2 billion (1.28 percent) in the fourth quarter of 2007 and $715 million (0.90 percent) in the first quarter of 2007.
Total provisions for loan losses increased to $2 billion in the first quarter, including $500 million set aside primarily for losses in the home equity and small businesses loan portfolios.
Despite the challenging environment, total mortgage applications of $132 billion were up 17 percent from a year ago, the $61 billion mortgage application pipeline was up 42 percent from the fourth quarter, and originations of $61 billion were seven percent higher than a year ago.
Additionally, the company’s mortgage servicing portfolio reached $1.53 trillion during the quarter, up 10 percent from a year earlier and up an annualized two percent from the fourth quarter.
Separately, I’ve heard that Wells Fargo is actively hiring ex-employees from defunct lending regimes at Countrywide and Washington Mutual, which could land the bank as the top residential mortgage lender in the U.S.
Shares of Wells Fargo were up 89 cents, or 3.20%, to $28.70 in afternoon trading on Wall Street.