SAN FRANCISCO -- In one of the strongest signals yet of California's banking recovery, Wells Fargo & Co. reported third-quarter net income of $217 million, up 31.5% from the same period a year ago. Earnings at San Francisco-based Wells, equal to $3.86 per share, were at the high end of analysts' expectations.

Meanwhile, Union Bank, the Golden State's fourth-largest bank, also saw its profits surge. Union, which is majority owned by Bank of Tokyo, reported earnings of $25.6 million for the quarter, up 18.7% from the comparable period of 1993.

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