Reuters | |

Wells Fargo & Co beat Wall Street profit expectations on Wednesday as it reduced bad loan provisions and reined-in costs, signaling the bank may finally be emerging from a sales practices scandal that has dogged it for nearly five years.

Profits at the country’s fourth-largest lender rebounded to nearly $5 billion in the first quarter of 2021 as the improved economic outlook allowed it to cut its cushion for losses on pandemic-hit loans by $1.6 billion, and as it got a grip on costs relating to fixing its product mis-selling scandals.

Reuters | |

JPMorgan Chase & Co’s first-quarter results on Wednesday laid bare the challenge big banks face in this phase of the pandemic, where stimulus programs have left individuals and businesses in good financial shape but so flush with cash that few of them need loans.

The biggest U.S. bank sailed past Wall Street expectations by reporting a nearly 400% increase in quarterly profit. The gains came from JPMorgan releasing more than $5 billion it had set aside to cover potential coronavirus loan losses that have not materialized, as well as a continued boom in capital-markets activity.