Wells Fargo earned record profits in the fourth quarter of 2012, but some analysts are already questioning whether they can keep the momentum going in 2013.
The bank reported 4th-quarter earnings of $5.1 billion for the last three months of the year. That's a 24-percent increase over the year before and it makes 12 consecutive quarters of increased profits. Much of the success of Wells Fargo last year is connected to homeowners refinancing their homes.
However, what made Wells Fargo successful last year may not hold true this year. Analysts wonder how many homeowners remain interested in refinancing or whether that market is being tapped out after several years of low interest rates.
UNC Charlotte economist John Connaughton says Wells Fargo "really benefitted from the re-fi's," but adds, "I think most of the people who are going to refinance already have."
He believes Wells Fargo will have to depend more on traditional mortgages connected to new and existing home sales.
"Wells Fargo is well positioned to take advantage of that, but how strong the housing market is going to be in 2013 will go a long way in determining whether Wells can continue this," Connaughton said.
Still, after years of bad news regarding big banks in Charlotte, Uptown workers were glad to hear about Wells Fargo's positive earnings report.
"It definitely encourages me for the local community and for this economy the way it is right now," Tim Householder said.
Wells Fargo employs approximately 20,500 workers in the Charlotte area.