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Wells Fargo Cuts Back on Auto Loans

October 21, 2008

Wells Fargo Financial reduced the size of its $25 billion auto portfolio by 24 percent from the second to third quarter, and 15 percent from the year-ago period. The company said in its third-quarter report that the decline reflects a tightening of its account acquisition strategies to reduce loan volume in high-risk tiers and tiers with unacceptable returns.

The company also reported that credit losses increase $74 million from the second quarter and $40 million from the year-ago period. It said the reported losses were in part due to seasonal patterns, as well as lower used-vehicle prices.

Losses in the company's auto portfolio were $316 million, about 15 percent of Wells Fargo's total quarterly losses.

Total delinquencies increased 12 percent and 90 days past due increased 10 percent on a linked-quarter basis. Compared to the year-ago period, delinquencies were flat and 90 days past due were up 6 percent.

"We current expect net credit losses in the portfolio to peak by year end or by early next year, of course, conditions in the auto market and the economy generally can impact the timing of any improvement," the company said in its report.

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