We've found ourselves at the beginning of another bank-stock earnings lollapalooza. After hearing from the likes of M&T Bank
Although this super-regional bank missed its estimate by $0.01, that matters about as much to me as a pimple on an elephant. Revenue was up 4% in the quarter, net income rose 8%, and earnings per share were up 10% as well. The bank also posted 8% growth in book value per share.
Looking at the odds and ends of bank financials, we see that return on assets fell very slightly (1.63% vs. 1.67%), and return on equity increased slightly (19.22% vs. 19.07%). The efficiency ratio fell nicely (57.5% vs. 60.9%). Bad debt charge-offs were up a bit because of a spike in personal bankruptcy filings, but overall lending quality was pretty good.
Average loans were up 9%, with commercial loans up by a low-teens amount. Note also that that average loan balance was up despite a substantial $48 billion sale of adjustable-rate mortgages -- excluding the impact of mortgages, loans would have been up 18%. Likewise, deposit growth was still pretty strong, and the average deposit balance climbed 10%.
Looking at income, net interest income was up 9%, even though the increase in cost of funds outstripped the increase in the yield on earning assets. Net interest margin fell very slightly -- all of four basis points -- to a very healthy 4.84%. Non-interest income, though, was down 2%, due largely to declines in mortgage banking and lower gains on securities. If you look further down the income statement, though, you see healthy double-digit growth in segments like service charges, trust management fees, and card fees.
Wells Fargo is a good bank, and there's definitely a credible argument that it's currently undervalued. While the company has more vulnerability to the mortgage market than some other banks, it also has a very good history of cross-selling and managing its interest spread. There's no shortage of attractive bank stocks out there, but Wells Fargo is at least worth a look.
For more financial Foolishness:
Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).