Wells Fargo Fourth Quarter Profit Falls Due to Home Loan Deficit

San Francisco–Wells Fargo & Co.–the nation’s second-largest mortgage lender–said Wednesday that increased home equity loan losses dragged its fourth quarter profit down 38 percent, The Washington Post reports.The decline is Wells’ first in more than six years. Wells Fargo’s net income dropped to $1.36 billion from $2.18 billion a year ago. Revenue, however, was up 8 percent to $10.21 billion. Charge-off loans, which Wells doesn’t expect to be repaid, hit $1.21 billion, up 67 percent from last year. Wells forecasts that charge-offs will rise this year.Although the decline was less than expected, it shows how even conservative mortgage lenders such as Wells Fargo, headquartered in San Francisco, have been hurt by the housing decline and credit crisis, according to the Post.