Wells Fargo & Company (WFC)

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Wells Fargo & Company (WFC)

Q3 2009 Earnings Call

October 21, 2009 8:30 am ET


Bob Strickland – Director of Investor Relations

Howard I. Atkins – Chief Financial Officer & Senior Executive Vice President


Bob Strickland

Hello, this is Bob Strickland. Thank you for participating in the Wells Fargo third quarter

2009 earnings review prerecorded call.

Before we discuss our third quarter results, we need to make the standard securities law disclosure. In this call we will make forward-looking statements about specific income statement and balance sheet items and other measures of our future financial results and condition, including statements about future nonaccruals, loss content and cash flows from the legacy Wachovia impaired non-impaired loan portfolios, expected credit losses and credit performance generally and in specific loan portfolios, the adequacy of our allowance for credit losses, future levels of nonperforming assets, future levels of capital, the timing and amount of expected merger one-time expenses, cost savings and business and revenue synergies related to the Wachovia merger and other initiatives, and our ability to generate revenue growth and earnings.

These forward-looking statements are based on our expectations, and they are not guarantees of future performance. They speak only as of the date they are made, and we do not undertake to update them to reflect changes that occur after that date. Actual results may differ materially from expectations due to a number of factors, including our ability to successfully integrate Wachovia and realize the expected cost savings and benefits from the merger. There is no assurance that our allowance for credit losses will be adequate to cover future credit losses, especially if credit markets, housing prices and unemployment do not stabilize or improve. For a discussion of factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from expectations, refer to our SEC filings, including the Form 8-K filed today, which includes the press release announcing our third quarter results, and our First and Second Quarter 10-Qs and our 2008 Annual Report on Form 10-K, each available on the SEC’s website at sec.gov.

In this call we will also discuss our Tier 1 common equity and related capital ratios, as well as pre-tax, pre-provision profit. For more information about these measures refer to our third quarter earnings press release, which is accessible on our website, wellsfargo.com, by clicking on “About Us,” then “Investor Relations,” then “Quarterly Earnings.” We have also posted on our website a third quarter 2009 supplement that provides additional information on our loan portfolios and businesses.

I will now turn the call over to CFO, Howard Atkins.

Howard Atkins

Thanks, Bob. I have a lot of ground to cover in my comments so I want to give you up-front the three key author’s messages about our third quarter.

First, we continued to generate earnings and capital at a record rate in the third quarter despite cyclically elevated credit costs. The main reason is that our diversified business model continued to generate very strong revenue as it has in other environments. Quarterly revenue net of expenses was once again this quarter more than double our quarterly net charge offs, a positive margin of $5.7 billion. We have increased shareholders equity by $23 billion since the merger and have exceeded the SCAP requirement by a wide margin.

Second, Wachovia is already additive to Wells Fargo’s earnings and capital growth, earlier and better than originally anticipated. Revenue synergies have been significant. Expense savings from the consolidation are on track for $5 billion annually by the end of 2011 and we now expect substantially lower merger and integration costs. Credit costs in the aggregate are in line with our expectations at the time of the merger with cumulative Pick-a-Pay losses now expected to be less than originally projected.

Third, we are seeing signs of stability in our credit portfolio and based on our current economic outlook, we expect credit losses to peak in 2010 with consumer losses potentially peaking in first half of the year and gradually declining as the year progresses. We have substantially less exposure to credit cards than our peers with large, national credit card portfolios. Where we do have large exposure, in commercial and commercial real estate, we are comfortable with how the legacy Wells Fargo portfolios were underwritten and are performing and we have previously written down the Wachovia portfolios at close of that acquisition late last year.

Let me elaborate on these three points. Wells Fargo once again achieved record earnings in the third quarter despite elevated credit costs. Our $3.2 billion net income was our third record quarter in a row. We have earned more than $3 billion in each quarter in 2009. Year-to-date earnings in 2009 a record of $9.5 billion were up 75% from a year ago indicating our company’s ability to absorb higher credit costs over the cycle.

After deducting preferred and common dividends, cumulative retained earnings so far this year were $6.9 billion, the main reason we are generating capital internally at a very fast rate. In combination with other internally generated sources of capital and with two of the largest non-IPO offerings of common stock in history, we have more than doubled the company’s equity since before the merger late last year.

There are three main reasons our earnings have been so consistently strong. The first relates to our business model, the second relates to the benefits we are already seeing from the Wachovia consolidation and the third relates to how we manage credit. The key driver of our earnings is revenue. Our third quarter revenue was $22.5 billion, equal to the record revenue we generated in second quarter, and our pre-tax pre-provision profit, total revenue less noninterest expense, was $10.8 billion, a record for the company. Wells Fargo’s revenue was about 92% of the average revenue of the other largest banks in the U.S. even though we are only about 60% of their size based on average assets.

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