Strong retail results boost Wells Fargo, Bank One - East Valley Tribune: Business

Strong retail results boost Wells Fargo, Bank One

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Posted: Wednesday, October 22, 2003 10:24 am | Updated: 1:08 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Strong retail performance and the recovering stock market helped boost thirdquarter earnings at many of the nation’s commercial banks.

On Tuesday, Wells Fargo & Co., Bank One Corp. and U.S. Bancorp all reported profits in line with or above the consensus of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Wells Fargo, the nation’s fourth-largest bank, continued to churn out higher profits by capitalizing on the booming home mortgage market and enticing customers to buy more of its other banking products.

The San Francisco-based bank said it earned $1.56 billion, or 92 cents per share, for the July-September period. That was an 8 percent increase from $1.44 billion, or 84 cents per share, a year earlier.

Wells Fargo’s profits would have been even higher if not for a $171 million charge to pay for a series of moves designed to boost the bank’s future earnings. The measures included paying down debt, renegotiating vendor contracts and closing a large processing center in a location Wells officials declined to identify.

Excluding the charge, Wells said it would have earned $1.02 per share, well above the 93 cents estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Wells has been thriving by appealing to consumers looking for a safe haven during the recent economic uncertainty and then finding ways to sell them a variety of financial services.

Meanwhile, Bank One posted a 7 percent increase in third-quarter profits, benefiting from solid growth in retail banking, fewer charge-offs in commercial banking and substantial stock market gains.

Net earnings for the Chicago-based bank in the July-September period were $883 million, or 79 cents a share, up from $823 million, or 70 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding discontinued operations, earnings were 78 cents a share — 3 cents more than the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Shares in Bank One, the nation’s sixth largest bank, were up 42 cents at $42.43 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

‘‘We experienced momentum in many of our businesses,’’ chief executive officer James Dimon said, citing growth in new accounts, deposits and loan production, growing charge volume in its credit-card business and gains in its investment management business.

The credit card unit saw profits decline 4 percent to $285 million.

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