Wells Fargo Reports Record Profit as Credit Improves

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Dakin Campbell

Wells Fargo & Co., the largest U.S. home lender, reported record third-quarter profit that beat most analysts’ estimates as credit conditions improved, and said it’s not planning to halt foreclosures.

Net income rose 3.1 percent to $3.34 billion, or 60 cents a diluted share, from $3.24 billion, or 56 cents, in the same period a year earlier, the San Francisco-based bank said today in a statement. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg estimated profit of 56 cents. Revenue dropped 7.1 percent to $20.9 billion.

“Wells Fargo continues to be one of our top picks,” Oppenheimer & Co. bank analyst Christopher Kotowski wrote in a Sept. 20 report. “Near term, the continued improvement in asset quality will be the driver.”

Wells Fargo Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf, 57, is more than halfway through the integration of Wachovia Corp., the lender bought at the depths of the credit crisis, and is using the economic recovery to streamline businesses. In July, the lender said it slashed 3,800 jobs and closed its consumer- finance branch network.

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