|Quarterly mortgage originations doubled at Wells Fargo & Co., while quarterly earnings were the highest ever. The company expects exceptional mortgage banking results to continue.
First-quarter mortgage fundings were $100 billion, the company said in a preliminary earnings statement today. Business was double Wells' fourth-quarter 2008 activity and higher than $66 billion a year earlier.
The last time volume was this heavy was in the third-quarter 2006 -- when reported originations reached $104 billion.
Wells generated more than 800,000 loan applications for $175 billion in the latest quarter, climbing from an already healthy $116 billion in the fourth quarter. During just March, new applications were a record $83 billion.
The unclosed application pipeline ended the first quarter at $100 billion, up from $71 billion at the end of 2008.
Wells Chief Financial Officer Howard Atkins called mortgage banking results "exceptionally strong."
First-quarter workouts were more than 150,000.
The San Francisco-based institution expects first-quarter net income of $3 billion -- a vast improvement from the fourth-quarter 2008 loss $2.5 billion and better than the $2.0 billion first-quarter 2008 profit.
The results represented "record net income."
Results at legacy Wachovia Corp. operation -- which Wells acquired on Dec. 31, 2008 -- were "strong."
Dividends to be paid on capital purchase program investments by the U.S. Department of the Treasury are estimated at $372 million.