Wells Fargo Reports Fourth Quarter 2017 Net Income Of $6.2 Billion

Wells Fargo Reports Fourth Quarter 2017 Net Income Of $6.2 Billion

Wells Fargo Reports Fourth Quarter 2017 Net Income Of $6.2 Billion

The FINANCIAL -- Wells Fargo & Company reported net income of $6.2 billion, or $1.16 per diluted common share, for fourth quarter 2017, compared with $5.3 billion, or $0.96 per share, for fourth quarter 2016, and $4.5 billion, or $0.83 per share, for third quarter 2017.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Sloan said, “In 2017 we continued executing on our plan to build a better bank for the future, and I'm proud of the hard work and dedication of our team members to put our customers first as we transform Wells Fargo. Over the past year we have invested billions of dollars into our business and capabilities including risk management, accelerated the pace of innovation, increased our commitment to communities, enhanced team member benefits, and continued to execute on our business strategies to provide long-term value to our shareholders. The progress we made over the past year was evident in the fourth quarter in higher deposits, loan growth particularly in commercial loans, increased debit and credit card transactions, and record client assets under management in Wealth and Investment Management. While we faced challenges in 2017, we are a much better company today than we were a year ago, and I am confident that this year Wells Fargo will be even better.”

Chief Financial Officer John Shrewsberry said, “Wells Fargo reported $6.2 billion of net income in the fourth quarter, which included a net benefit from the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act and a gain on the sale of Wells Fargo Insurance Services, partially offset by litigation accruals. Compared with the third quarter we grew both loans and deposits, and our credit performance, liquidity and capital remained exceptionally strong. We returned a record $14.5 billion to shareholders through common stock dividends and net share repurchases in 2017, up 16 percent, and returning more capital to shareholders remains a priority. We've made progress on our efficiency initiatives and remain committed to our target of $2 billion of expense reductions by the end of 2018, which are being used to support our investments in the business, and an additional $2 billion by the end of 2019. In addition, by the beginning of 2019 we expect the amortization of core deposit intangible expense ($769 million in 2018) and the FDIC special assessment to be complete.”

Net Interest Income

Net interest income in fourth quarter 2017 was $12.3 billion, down $136 million, compared with third quarter 2017, driven primarily by a negative $183 million one-time adjustment related to leveraged leases due to the Tax Act, which reduced loan yields in the fourth quarter, partially offset by a modest net benefit from all other growth, repricing and variable items.

Net interest margin was 2.84 percent, down 2 basis points from third quarter 2017. The negative impacts from the one-time adjustment to leveraged leases and growth in average deposits were partially offset by lower average long-term debt and a modest net benefit from all other growth, repricing and variable items.

Noninterest Income

Noninterest income in the fourth quarter was $9.7 billion, compared with $9.4 billion in third quarter 2017. Fourth quarter noninterest income reflected higher other income, trust and investment fees, and market sensitive revenue2, partially offset by lower mortgage banking and deposit service charges.

Deposit service charges of $1.2 billion were down $30 million in the fourth quarter driven by the impact of customer-friendly changes including the launch of Overdraft RewindSM in November.

Trust and investment fees were $3.7 billion, compared with $3.6 billion in third quarter 2017, as higher asset-based fees and retail brokerage transaction activity were partially offset by lower investment banking fees.

Mortgage banking noninterest income was $928 million, compared with $1.0 billion in third quarter 2017. Residential mortgage loan originations were $53 billion in the fourth quarter, down from $59 billion in the third quarter. The production margin on residential held-for-sale mortgage loan originations3 was 1.25 percent, compared with 1.24 percent in the third quarter. Mortgage servicing income was $262 million in the fourth quarter, down from $309 million in the third quarter.

Market sensitive revenue was $728 million, compared with $649 million in third quarter 2017, driven by higher net gains from equity investments, according to Wells Fargo.

Other income was $405 million, compared with $47 million in the third quarter. Fourth quarter 2017 included an $848 million gain on the previously announced sale of Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA, which was partially offset by $414 million of impairments on low income housing and renewable energy investments due to the Tax Act.

Noninterest Expense

Noninterest expense in the fourth quarter was $16.8 billion, compared with $14.4 billion in the prior quarter. Fourth quarter expenses included operating losses of $3.5 billion, up from $1.3 billion in the third quarter, primarily reflecting litigation accruals for a variety of matters, including mortgage-related regulatory investigations, sales practices, and other consumer-related matters. Fourth quarter expenses also included higher charitable donations (up $103 million from the third quarter), commission and incentive compensation expense, outside professional services, and typically higher equipment and advertising expense, which were partially offset by a $117 million gain on the sale of a corporate property. The efficiency ratio was 76.2 percent in fourth quarter 2017, up from 65.7 percent in the third quarter, driven primarily by higher operating losses.

Income Taxes

The Company’s fourth quarter income tax expense was a $1.6 billion benefit and reflected the estimated impact of the Tax Act, including a benefit of $3.89 billion resulting from the re-measurement of the Company's estimated net deferred tax liability as of December 31, 2017, partially offset by $173 million of tax expense relating to the estimated tax impact of the deemed repatriation of the Company's previously undistributed foreign earnings. The fourth quarter income tax benefit was also adversely impacted by a $1.0 billion tax effect relating to the impact of discrete non-deductible items (primarily litigation accruals). The full year 2017 effective income tax rate was 18.1 percent. The Company currently expects its full year 2018 effective income tax rate to be approximately 19 percent.

Loans

Total average loans were $951.8 billion in the fourth quarter, down $521 million from the third quarter. Period-end loan balances were $956.8 billion at December 31, 2017, up $4.9 billion from September 30, 2017. Commercial loans were up $3.2 billion from September 30, 2017 with growth in commercial and industrial loans, partially offset by declines in commercial real estate loans. Consumer loans increased $1.7 billion from the prior quarter, as growth in real estate 1-4 family first mortgage loans and consumer credit card loans was partially offset by expected declines in automobile loans and the junior lien mortgage portfolio.

Investment Securities

Investment securities were $416.4 billion at December 31, 2017, up $1.8 billion from the third quarter, as approximately $20.9 billion of purchases, mostly federal agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) in the available-for-sale portfolio, were partially offset by run-off and sales.

Net unrealized gains on available-for-sale securities declined to $1.5 billion at December 31, 2017, compared with $1.8 billion at September 30, 2017, primarily due to gains realized in the fourth quarter. Modestly higher Treasury yields were largely offset by tighter credit and agency MBS spreads during the quarter.

Deposits

Total average deposits for fourth quarter 2017 were $1.3 trillion, up $5.2 billion from the prior quarter. The average deposit cost for fourth quarter 2017 was 28 basis points, up 2 basis points from the prior quarter and 16 basis points from a year ago, primarily driven by an increase in commercial and Wealth and Investment Management deposit rates.

Capital

Capital levels remained strong in the fourth quarter, with a Common Equity Tier 1 ratio (fully phased-in) of 11.9 percent4, compared with 11.8 percent in the prior quarter. In fourth quarter 2017, the Company repurchased 51.4 million shares of its common stock, which reduced period-end common shares outstanding by 36.3 million.

Credit Quality

Net Loan Charge-offs

The quarterly loss rate was 0.31 percent (annualized), compared with 0.30 percent in the prior quarter. Commercial and consumer losses were 0.09 percent and 0.56 percent, respectively. Total credit losses were $751 million in fourth quarter 2017, up $34 million from third quarter 2017. Commercial losses were up $2 million on lower recoveries in commercial real estate loans. Consumer losses increased $32 million, as higher recoveries on consumer real estate loans and lower losses on automobile loans were offset by higher credit card losses driven by seasonality and portfolio seasoning.

Nonperforming Assets

Nonperforming assets decreased $647 million, or 7 percent, from third quarter 2017 to $8.7 billion. Nonaccrual loans decreased $583 million from third quarter 2017 to $8.0 billion primarily driven by lower commercial and industrial nonaccruals reflecting continued improvement in the oil and gas portfolio, as well as continued declines in consumer real estate nonaccruals.

Community Banking reported net income of $3.7 billion, up $1.5 billion, or 69 percent, from third quarter 2017. Fourth quarter income tax expense reflected the estimated impact of the Tax Act to the Company and the impact of discrete non-deductible items, primarily litigation accruals. Revenue in the fourth quarter was $12.0 billion, flat compared with third quarter 2017, and included lower net interest income, mortgage banking revenue, and service charges on deposit accounts, offset by higher market sensitive revenue and trust and investment fees. Noninterest expense increased $2.4 billion, or 30 percent, compared with third quarter 2017, driven primarily by litigation accruals. The provision for credit losses decreased $14 million from the prior quarter.

Net income was up $940 million, or 34 percent, from fourth quarter 2016, and included the income tax benefit from the Tax Act. Revenue increased $367 million, or 3 percent, compared with a year ago due to higher market sensitive revenue and other income, partially offset by lower mortgage banking revenue, service charges on deposit accounts, and net interest income. Noninterest expense increased $3.2 billion, or 46 percent, from a year ago primarily driven by litigation accruals. The provision for credit losses increased $5 million from a year ago.

Retail Banking and Consumer Payments, Virtual Solutions and Innovation

1.6 million branch customer experience surveys completed during 2017, both ‘Loyalty’ and ‘Overall Satisfaction with Most Recent Visit’ scores improved in fourth quarter from third quarter

5,861 retail bank branches as of the end of fourth quarter 2017, reflecting 214 branch consolidations for full year 2017

For the 15th consecutive year, America's #1 small business lender and #1 lender to small businesses in low-and moderate-income areas (loans under $1 million; 2016 Community Reinvestment Act data, released November 2017)

Primary consumer checking customers6,7up 0.2 percent year-over-year

Debit card point-of-sale purchase volume8 of $83.1 billion in fourth quarter, up 6 percent year-over-year

Credit card point-of-sale purchase volume of $19.1 billion in fourth quarter, up 6 percent year-over-year

Credit card penetration in retail banking households of 45.3 percent

28.1 million digital (online and mobile) active customers, including 21.2 million mobile active users

Bank Monitor Awards provided Wells Fargo a Gold Medal, the highest level, in Website Design and Usability (December 2017)

Dynatrace (formerly Keynote) ranked Wells Fargo #1 in Functionality, Open Accounts, and Transact in its fourth quarter Online Banking Scorecard (November 2017)

Consumer Lending

Home Lending

Originations of $53 billion, down from $59 billion in prior quarter

Applications of $63 billion, down from $73 billion in prior quarter

Application pipeline of $23 billion at quarter end, down from $29 billion at September 30, 2017

Automobile originations of $4.3 billion in fourth quarter, flat compared with prior quarter and down 33 percent from prior year, as proactive steps to tighten underwriting standards resulted in lower origination volume

Wholesale Banking reported net income of $2.1 billion, up $103 million, or 5 percent, from third quarter 2017. Fourth quarter results included the loss from adjustments related to leveraged leases and other tax advantaged businesses due to the Tax Act, as well as a gain related to the completion of the previously announced sale of Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA (WFIS). Revenue of $7.1 billion was flat compared with the prior quarter, as the gain related to the sale of WFIS was offset by the impact of the Tax Act and lower market sensitive revenue. Net interest income decreased $134 million, or 3 percent, as the impact to leveraged leases due to the Tax Act was partially offset by higher trading related income and a modest benefit from higher interest rates. Noninterest income increased $144 million, or 5 percent, as the gain related to the sale of WFIS and higher commercial real estate brokerage fees were partially offset by impairments on low income housing and tax-advantaged renewable energy investments due to the Tax Act, lower market sensitive revenue and one less month of WFIS operating income. Noninterest expense decreased $44 million, or 1 percent, from the prior quarter reflecting one less month of WFIS operating expenses and lower operating lease expense. The provision for credit losses decreased $49 million from the prior quarter, primarily due to a reserve release in the fourth quarter.

Net income of $2.1 billion decreased $46 million, or 2 percent, from fourth quarter 2016. Revenue decreased $59 million, or 1 percent, from fourth quarter 2016, as lower net interest income was partially offset by higher noninterest income. Net interest income decreased $112 million, or 3 percent, from fourth quarter 2016, as the impact to leveraged leases due to the Tax Act was partially offset by the impact of rising interest rates. Noninterest income increased $53 million, or 2 percent, from a year ago as the gain related to the sale of WFIS and higher market sensitive revenue were partially offset by impairments on low income housing and tax-advantaged renewable energy investments due to the Tax Act, lower investment banking results, and one less month of WFIS operating income. Noninterest expense increased $202 million, or 5 percent, from a year ago reflecting increased personnel expense and higher regulatory, risk, cyber and technology expenses. The provision for credit losses decreased $148 million from a year ago primarily due to improvements in the oil and gas portfolio.

Wealth and Investment Management reported net income of $659 million, down $51 million, or 7 percent, from third quarter 2017. Revenue of $4.3 billion increased $59 million from the prior quarter, primarily due to higher asset-based fees and transaction revenue, partially offset by lower net interest income. Noninterest expense increased $138 million, or 4 percent, from the prior quarter, primarily due to higher non-personnel expense and broker commissions.

Net income was up $6 million, or 1 percent, from fourth quarter 2016. Revenue increased $231 million, or 6 percent, from a year ago primarily driven by higher asset-based fees, higher net interest income, and higher gains on deferred compensation plan investments (offset in employee benefits expense), partially offset by lower transaction revenue. Noninterest expense increased $202 million, or 7 percent, from a year ago, primarily due to higher regulatory, risk, cyber and technology expenses, as well as higher broker commissions and deferred compensation plan expense (offset in trading revenue), partially offset by lower other non-personnel expense.

WIM total client assets reached a record-high of $1.9 trillion, up 11 percent from a year ago, driven by higher market valuations

Fourth quarter 2017 average closed referred investment assets (referrals resulting from the WIM/Community Banking partnership) were flat compared with the prior quarter and up 12 percent from prior year

Retail Brokerage

Client assets of $1.7 trillion, up 11 percent from prior year

Advisory assets of $543 billion, up 17 percent from prior year, primarily driven by higher market valuations and positive net flows

Continued loan growth, with average balances up 7 percent from prior year largely due to growth in non-conforming mortgage loans

Wealth Management

Client assets of $248 billion, up 7 percent from prior year

Average loan balances up 3 percent from prior year primarily driven by continued growth in non-conforming mortgage loans

Asset Management

Total assets under management of $504 billion, up 5 percent from prior year as higher market valuations, positive fixed income and money market net flows were partially offset by equity net outflows

Retirement

IRA assets of $410 billion, up 8 percent from prior year

Institutional Retirement plan assets of $393 billion, up 12 percent from prior year