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Wells CFO: Could be very good year for loan growth

Wells Fargo is anticipating a very good year for its loan business, Chief Financial Officer John Shrewsberry told CNBC Tuesday.

The bank is the biggest residential mortgage lender and the largest auto lender.

"The pipelines actually feel very good," Shrewsberry said in an interview with "Closing Bell."

"In the various consumer categories ... as well as in various commercial categories, people are busy, customers are engaged and it feels like it might be a very good year."

Pedestrians walk in front of Wells Fargo headquarters in San Francisco, California.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Pedestrians walk in front of Wells Fargo headquarters in San Francisco, California.

That's because jobs haven't looked this good in a long time and gross domestic product, which will probably be "lackluster" in the first quarter, is still in the 3 percent range for the year, he explained.

"The traction that we have in the businesses we're involved with, the customer groups that we're engaged with, look actually pretty good."

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Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve approved Wells Fargo's capital distribution plans last week, along with those of 28 other banks. Wells Fargo responded by announcing it plans to increase its dividend to 37.5 cents per share in the second quarter of 2015, up from the current rate of 35 cents a share.

"We've signaled to investors that we intend to distribute about 50 to 70 percent of our net income with the combination of dividends and share repurchases," Shrewsberry said.

"We're at the head of the pack. We're a big capital generator. We have a lot to distribute and we've been rewarding shareholders nicely."

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While the bank has done a nice job of keeping income at a high level despite interest rates, if rates stay here it will have to do more on noninterest income, he said.

"We have to work harder on growing the size of the balance sheet in a prudent way. And we have to be careful about expenses," Shrewsberry added.