In what could be considered a sign of economic recovery, Wells Fargo reported Friday (Jan. 14) that the demand for both consumer and commercial loans jumped 5% in the second half of 2021.
That’s just one piece of an improving economic puzzle for the financial services company, which saw its total revenue jump from about $18.5 billion at the end of 2020 to almost $20.9 billion at the end of 2021.
“In 2021, we improved our financial returns, including reducing our expenses and returning a significant amount of excess capital to our shareholders by increasing our dividend and repurchasing $14.5 billion of common stock,” said Chief Executive Officer Charlie Scharf in the company’s annual earnings report.
“As the economy continued to recover, we saw increased consumer spending, higher investment banking fees, higher asset-based fees in our Wealth and Investment Management business, and strong equity gains in our affiliated venture capital and private equity businesses,” he said.
Wells Fargo’s full-year net income hit $21.5 billion in 2021, good for $4.95 per diluted share. While the company loaned about $25 billion less in 2021 than the previous year, average deposits jumped almost $100 million from $1.38 billion in 2020 to $1.47 billion last year.
The company also sold its Corporate Trust Services brand and Wells Fargo Asset Management in 2021.
“The changes we’ve made to the company and continued strong economic growth prospects make us feel good about how we are positioned entering 2022,” said Scharf.
“We also remain cognizant that we still have a multiyear effort to satisfy our regulatory requirements — with setbacks likely to continue along the way — and we continue our work to put exposures related to our historical practices behind us,” he said.
Related: Wells Fargo, JPMorgan, Goldman and Others Ramp up Crypto Staffs
Big banks, including Wells Fargo, have added about 1,000 roles related to cryptocurrency since 2018, acknowledging the growth in a sector that was once considered a nuisance at best. Banks have been adding a number of research teams and trading desks, along with big compensation bumps.