Wells Fargo Q4 Results Reflect $3.35B Tax Act Benefit

Wells Fargo reported 2017 net income of $22.2 billion, up 2.8% from $21.6 billion the previous year. Revenue was $88.4 billion, up from $88.3 billion a year earlier.

The bank noted Q4/17 results included a $3.35 billion after-tax benefit from the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. The bank also said it recorded a $3.25 billion pre-tax expense from litigation accruals for a variety of matters, including mortgage-related regulatory investigations, sales practices, and other consumer-related matters and said a majority of this expense was not tax deductible.

Average lease financing loans at year-end 2017 were $19.13 billion, up 6.6% from $17.95 billion a year earlier. Interest income of $715 million in 2017 was down 21.9% or $201 million from $916 million a year earlier as full year 2017 average yields of 3.74% were down 136 basis-points from 5.10% in 2016.

CEO 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.”

CFO 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%, 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.”

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