This Lender Has Special Appeal

Article Excerpt

WELLS FARGO & CO. $35 (New York symbol WFC; Conservative Growth Portfolio, Finance sector, WSSF Rating: Average) is the fifth-largest bank in the United States, with assets of $499.5 billion. It operates over 3,000 retail branches, mostly in Western and Midwestern states. It also has 1,000 home mortgage offices. Wells Fargo’s revenue rose from $20.2 billion in 2001 to $32.9 billion in 2005, or 13.0% compounded annually. Its earnings grew at a compounded annual rate of 22.8%, from $0.99 a share (total $3.4 billion) in 2001 to $2.25 a share ($7.7 billion) in 2005 (all per share amounts adjusted for 2-for-1 stock split in August 2006). In the three months ended June 30, 2006, earnings rose 10.7%, to a record $0.62 a share (total $2.1 billion) from $0.56 a share ($1.9 billion) a year earlier. Revenue rose 11.4%, to $8.8 billion from $7.9 billion. Hunting for bargains Most of Wells Fargo’s recent growth has come from its home mortgage division, which accounts for about…

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