Wells Fargo story updated with additional information throughout.NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Wells Fargo ( WFC)'s fourth quarter earnings report on Tuesday proved once again why it trades at a substantial premium to rivals like Bank of America ( BAC), JPMorgan Chase ( JPM), and Citigroup ( C): it consistently makes money quarter after quarter while the kind of ups and downs you would ordinarily associate with a biotech startup. You wouldn't know we're in the middle of a housing slump by looking at Wells' numbers. Mortgage banking income increased almost 30% to $2.36 billion. Never mind that that was in line with estimates from Stifel Nicolaus analyst Christopher Mutascio. That's impressive growth given the tough times we're in.
|Wells Fargo will report fourth quarter earnings Tuesday|
Analysts expected Wells to report an earnings per share of 72 cents, according to consensus estimates from Zacks. "The fourth quarter of 2011 was a very strong quarter for Wells Fargo, with record earnings, solid linked quarter growth in loans, deposits and capital, and continued strong credit quality," said Chief Financial Officer Tim Sloan. Sloan said net interest income benefited from the growth in earning assets and an increase in the net interest margin. Noninterest income also rose during the quarter, aided by strong mortgage banking and capital markets results Sloan said. Asset-backed finance, capital markets, commercial banking, commercial real estate, corporate banking, corporate trust, credit card, equipment finance, government and institutional banking, insurance, international, merchant services, mortgage, real estate capital markets and retail sales finance all grew revenues versus the third quarter. -- Written by Dan Freed in New York. Follow this writer on Twitter.