For Wells Fargo, running afoul of regulators over discriminatory lending amounted to just another cost of doing business.
"It kind of gets lost in the rounding, given what you're seeing … on the mortgage banking side," says Marty Mosby, an analyst at Guggenheim Partners.
Mortgage banking income climbed 79% from a year earlier, to $2.89 billion. Originations more than doubled to $131 billion year over year, as the pipeline of loans in process grew to $102 billion, Wells reported on Friday.
The strong pipeline suggests the bank's "going into position to see a really strong third quarter," Mosby predicts.
And even as some of that strength diminishes going into next year, there's still a base of homeowners who haven't yet been able to take advantage of the ongoing refinancing boom, he says.
"While I think that it will peak here in the second quarter and third quarter, and there will be some downdraft as you get into the first quarter of next year, there are still going to be a lot of those who haven't been able to refinance for whatever reason," Mosby adds.
On a conference call Friday, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf and Chief Financial Officer Timothy Sloan assured investors and analysts that the bank's diversified businesses should help offset an inevitable slowdown in mortgages.
"We know that is going to happen, because it is unlikely that we will continue at this pace for the medium term," Sloan said.
"While we have printed 10 consecutive quarters of earnings growth, we have had ups and downs in the mortgage business," he said.
"I think what that reflects is the benefit of the fact that we've got a very diversified business model. The mortgage business is important to us. But when you look at the percentage of mortgage revenues for last year and the year before, it goes down because we are growing the rest of the business quite nicely."
Meanwhile, Wells may also continue to press an advantage from its ability to expand via acquisitions, thanks to its strong capital position.
"We are in the unique position of not having to do anything uneconomic or different to somehow hoard capital or to meet something. We have such strong capital, such strong cash flows and earnings here, it puts us in a position where we can grow organically, do strategic and value-adding portfolio acquisitions, or whatever," Stumpf said on the analyst call.
The bank reported that commercial loans grew $8.3 billion in the second quarter, including $6.9 billion from the recent purchases of BNP Paribas' energy lending business and subscription finance loans from the German bank WestLB.
"European banks are pulling back to their core business, providing opportunities for the larger national superregional banks in the U.S. to take advantage of that business," Mosby says.
"If you look at the commercial side, low interest rates are really generating a lot of activity, and it's a great time to be recruiting some of that over at both JPMorgan Chase and Wells," he says. "You're seeing some of the others, especially Bank of America, having to pull back a bit. They're just not in position to take advantage of this."
Wells' total net income rose 17% to a record $4.62 billion in the second quarter, up from $3.95 billion a year earlier.
Revenue climbed 4% year over year to $21.3 billion, and the net interest margin held steady from the first three months of this year at 3.91%.
The net chargeoff rate fell to 1.15%, down from 1.25% a quarter earlier.