SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) – Wells Fargo & Co. said its fourth-quarter profit rose 20 percent, helped by better performance of its loans, growth in deposits and a steadying mortgage business.

The San Francisco-based bank said its net income for the last three months of 2011 rose to $4.11 billion, or 73 cents per share. Total revenue slipped 4 percent to $20.6 billion.

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Analysts were expecting profit of 72 cents per share on total revenue of $20 billion.

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Average deposits rose 9 percent to $864.9 billion. Loans edged up 2 percent to $768.6 billion. Wells released $600 million from its reserves to cover uncollected loans, which helped boost results.

The bank’s card fees dropped 28 percent, largely because of a new law limiting debit card fees charged to merchants.

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