Wells Fargo third-quarter net up on strong mortgage lending

SAN FRANCISCO, Fri Oct 12, 2012 – Wells Fargo & Co. on Friday reported a 22 percent increase in third-quarter profit on a surge in mortgage lending.

The fourth biggest U.S. bank said net income totaled $4.9 billion, or 88 cents a share, in the quarter, up from $4.1 billion, or 72 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. The bank’s latest EPS topped the analysts’ consensus estimate of 87 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Wells Fargo, the largest U.S. home lender, posted mortgage banking revenue of $2.8 billion, up more than 50 percent from a year ago. The bank made $139 billion in mortgages versus $89 billion a year ago, but up only slightly from the second quarter.

Wells Fargo and other banks are experiencing a jump in home lending as borrowers refinance their homes at low interest rates.

The bank’s net interest margin – the spread it makes on what it pays on deposits and makes on loans – fell to 3.66 percent from 3.91 percent in the second quarter, a bigger drop than it had warned of last month. Banks are seeing the margin shrink as older loans with higher interest rates are paid down.

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