Following its recent critical profile by Bloomberg which earlier this week penned, “Wells Fargo Misjudged the Risks of Energy Financing“, which came about 4 months after we wrote an almost identical report, the biggest US bank by market cap knew it had to reveal more than just the usual placeholder data in its investor presentation today. Sure enough, Warren Buffett’s favorite bank finally opened its books more than usual as concerns built about its $17.4 billion in total outstanding oil and energy loans (at the end of 2015). This is what it revealed.

First, the big picture. As the chart below shows, Wells’ net income has been consistently declining in the past year, with earnings of $5.5BN down from $5.8BN a year ago even as revenues grow 4% over the same period.

Here is the reason: Net Interest Margin continues to decline, as a result of the continued curve flattening.


This ongoing decline in NIM is forcing Wells to issue ever more loans to maintain its average loan/yield constant. As the chart below shows, it is doing just that, with period end loans outstanding soaring by $86BN from a year ago to $947.3BN.


All of that, however has to do with the structural constraints of the economy, and the ongoing collapse in rates.

What about Wells’ overall credit book? Here we find some curious observations here.

Net charge-offs rose to $886 million, up $55 million, or 7%, LQ on $87 million higher oil and gas portfolio losses. And yet, despite the abovementioned $17.8 billion (as of Q1) in loans to oil and energy and despite the deteriorating conditions, Wells only built reserves by a paltry $200 million reserve build in the quarter, resulting in a 0.38% net charge-off rate “as continued improvement in residential real estate was more than offset by higher oil and gas reserves.” Will that reserve

Still it wasn’t just energy related losses: Wells also revealed that commercial losses were 20 bps, up 4 bps LQ. while consumer losses of 57 bps, up 1 bp LQ

Just as interesting was Wells’ disclosure of its Non performing assets, which jumped by $706 million to $13.5 billion, the biggest such increase since the crisis.

This was Wells’ explanation:

  • Nonaccrual loans increased $852 million on $1.1 billion higher oil and gas and $343 million from the addition of GE Capital loans, partially offset by lower residential and commercial real estate nonaccruals
  • Acquired loans and leases from GE Capital acquisitions were marked to fair value in purchase accounting with no Allowance recorded with the closings
  • Future allowance levels will be based on a variety of factors, including loan growth, portfolio performance and general economic conditions

Finally, we get to the real meat – Wells’ Oil and Gas loan portfolio and total exposure. Here are the details:

Oil and gas loan portfolio of $17.8 billion, or 1.9% of total loan outstandings

The total outstanding amount was up $474 million, or 3%, from the $17.4 billion in 4Q15 on drawn lines and the acquisition of $236 million in loans from GE Capital

Outstandings include $819 million second lien and $374 million of mezzanine loans

Wells reports that ~7%, or $1.2 billion, of outstandings to investment grade companies. This means that $16.6 bilion of Wells’ outstanding loans are to junk-rated companies, something we flagged four months ago.

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On the other hand, total exposure of $40.7 billion was down $1.3 billion, or 3%, reflecting declines across all 3 sectors from reductions to existing credit facilities and net charge-offs. As expected, Wells has decided to start trimming it overall exposure by collapsing credit lines.

But the punchline once again, is in the reminder of just how generous Wells has been in lending to junk-rated oil and gas companies in the recent past to compensate for its declining NIM: Wells reported that ~22%, or $8.8 billion, of exposure to investment grade companies, which means $32 billion is to junk-rated companies.

It also means that much more pain is in store for Wells in the coming quarters unless oil stages a dramatic comeback.

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At this point Wells give an update of what it actually did in the first quarter.

First, it increased net chargeoffs by a paltry $204 million in 1Q16, up $87 million from 4Q15, “driven by deterioration in borrower financial performance and collateral values reflecting lower crude and natural gas prices

While it did not need to explain, it adds that “all of the losses were in the E&P and services sectors Nonaccrual loans

More troubling was the spike in Nonaccrual loans which more than doubled to $1.9 billion, up $1.1 billion from 4Q15 on “higher outstandings, weaker expectations for borrower cash flows reflecting lower collateral values, the run-off of hedges, less sponsor support and the closing of external liquidity sources, as well as protective draws” Once again, nearly all nonaccruals were in the E&P and services sectors.

Curiously, about 90% of nonaccruals remain current on interest and principal. This means that if and when the borrowers hit their funding cliff, the consequences will be severe.

Finally, Wells reports that it has taken $1.7 billion of allowance for credit losses allocated for oil and gas portfolio, which amount to 9.3% of total oil and gas loans outstanding.

So, here is the recap: $1.1 billion in reserves provisions (an increase of only $200MM in the quarter), a total of $1.9 billion in non-performing Oil and Gas assets, a $1.7 billion allowance for Oil and Gas credit losses, and a total of $32 billion in junk rated oil and gas exposure?

Something tells us that top chart showing Wells Fargo’s declining net income will not get much better any time soon…

Source: Wells Fargo