Shares of the San Francisco banking giant at last check were up 0.18% to $39.86.
Wells Fargo, the fourth-largest U.S. lender, reported earnings of $4.74 billion, or $1.05 a share, compared with $653 million, or 1 cent a share, in the year-earlier period.
The loan loss reserve release added 28 cents to the earnings per share.
Revenue net of interest expense was $18.06 billion, compared with $17.7 billion.
Non-interest expenses were $14 billion, up from a year earlier, while net interest income was lower than expected.
Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast earnings of 71 cents a share and revenue of $17.52 billon.
"Our results for the quarter, which included a $1.6 billion pretax reduction in the allowance for credit losses, reflected an improving U.S. economy, continued focus on our strategic priorities, and ongoing support for our customers and our communities," CEO Charlie Scharf said in a statement.
JPMorgan posted much stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings as the biggest U.S. bank released around $5.2 billion in provisions for bad loans.
Goldman also beat Wall Street's forecasts, thanks in part to surging investment bank revenue.
Last month, Wells Fargo said it had cleared all exposure to Archegos Capital, the hedge fund at the center of a recent media-stock selloff.
In February, federal officials reportedly informed Wells Fargo that they had accepted the bank's plan to overhaul its risk management and governance.
Scharf’s team submitted the revised plan in September, Bloomberg reported. That move came after the Federal Reserve prohibited the bank from lifting its assets beyond their year-end 2017 level until it implemented certain reforms.
Bloomberg reported in December that a number of top executives privately expect Wells Fargo won’t escape the asset cap before late this year, while key Fed officials see the process dragging into 2022 or beyond.
In January, Wells Fargo posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings but missed Wall Street's revenue forecast.