Housing shouldn’t look at any color but the color of money

Housing shouldn’t look at any color but the color of money

People with bad credit and bad habits should be squeezed out of housing

Who is Nat Hardwick?

Former LandCastle Title CEO owns NASCAR team, rubs elbows with PGA pros

Lawsuit alleges former LandCastle Title CEO embezzled $30 million

Nat Hardwick allegedly used funds for private jets, gambling

Wells Fargo earns record $4.1 billion in 4Q

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Wells Fargo (WFC), the largest mortgage lender in the U.S., reported record income of $4.1 billion, or 73 cents a share, for the fourth quarter, up 20% from one year ago. For the full year, Wells earned $15.9 billion, up 28% from 2010. Revenue at the San Francisco-based bank dipped to $20.6 billion in the fourth quarter from $21.5 billion last year. For all of 2011, revenue dropped to $80.9 billion, down 5% from the prior year. The bank's mortgage department earned $2.4 billion in the fourth quarter, down slightly from $2.7 billion a year earlier. Wells originated $120 billion in new mortgages during the fourth quarter, down from $128 billion in the last quarter of 2010. For all of 2011, Wells Fargo originated $357 billion in new home loans down from $386 billion the prior year. The amount of mortgages listed as nonaccrual or in foreclosure dropped to $4.08 billion at the end of the fourth quarter, down from $5.2 billion a year earlier. Wells lost $272 million directly from repurchasing soured mortgages from investors, however it was nearly half of the $572 million in losses in for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2010. At the end of 2011, the bank held roughly $2 billion in provisions for credit losses, down from nearly $3 billion at the end of the prior year. Chief Risk Officer Mike Loughlin said that number is on the way down albeit at a slower pace heading into 2012. "We have seen significant improvement in credit performance over the past eight quarters, and expect continued but slower improvement in 2012 as portfolio quality approaches a stable, more normal level," Loughlin said. "Absent significant deterioration in the economy, we continue to expect future reserve releases in 2012." Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.

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