Wells Fargo profits rise on improving housing

Wells Fargo reported Friday a 22 percent increase in quarterly earnings compared with last year, as credit quality continued to increase with the improving housing market.

Net income for the quarter rose to $5.2 billion on $21.3 billion in revenues, compared with $4.2 billion on revenues of $21.6 billion in the year-earlier period.

The bank, the largest US mortgage originator, reported improving credit quality as the housing market steadies. Wells Fargo reduced its provision expense to $1.2 billion in the quarter, from $2 billion in the year-earlier quarter.

The bank's non-performing assets declined to $22.9 billion, compared with $26.6 billion a year ago.

The San Francisco banking giant reported $800 billion in loans outstanding, up $33.5 billion from the year-ago quarter.

But there were some signs of weaking in its key mortgage business. Non-interest net income in mortgage banking fell 2.6 percent from the year-ago level.

New mortgage applications were down 23.4 percent compared with last year and mortgage originations were off 15.5 percent.

Wells Fargo shares fell 2 percent in per-market trade.