April 9, 2009

Wells Fargo expects $3B first quarter gain

U.S. bank Wells Fargo & Co. said Thursday it expected to post a record first quarter profit of $3 billion, due in part to its purchase of Wachovia Corp.

The news release puts Wells Fargo in the same company as Citigroup Inc., which projected a strong first quarter earlier this year.

In a statement, Wells Fargo Chief Executive Officer John Strumpf said our business momentum is strong and we expect our operating margins to remain at the top of our peer group.

The bank expects first quarter results to include $20 billion in revenue, including another quarter of double-digit revenue growth at legacy Wells Fargo, the statement said.

The pre-tax profit for the quarter was expected to reach $9.2 billion, the company said.

Its purchase of Wachovia added 40 percent to its combined revenue and gave the bank above-peer revenue growth, particularly during difficult economic times like these, Chief Financial Officer Howard Atkins said.

Wachovia's outstanding franchise has proven to be everything we though it would be when we announced this acquisition, Strumpf said. And the financial contribution from Wachovia exceeded our expectations in the first quarter.