News Summary: Wells Fargo kicks off bank earnings
KICKING OFF EARNINGS: Wells Fargo reported fourth-quarter earnings Friday, the first of the U.S. megabanks to do so. Profits shot to a record, up 25 percent from a year ago. Revenue climbed 7 percent.
THE HOME FRONT: Wells Fargo is the country’s biggest mortgage lender, and its results are a bellwether for the entire housing market. Mortgage originations were up slightly over the year, but they slowed compared to the record third quarter.
THE REFINANCE FORCE: Nearly three-quarters of the mortgage applications were from borrowers who want to refinance their homes. Federal Reserve policy is keeping interest rates extremely low.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)