Wells Fargo today reported higher earnings on better credit quality as increases in industrial and commercial loans offset declines in many home-lending categories.

Wells Fargo, the nation's largest mortgage lender, said first-quarter earnings were $5.6 billion, up 14% on the same time last year.

"Our solid first-quarter results again demonstrated the ability of our diversified business model to perform for shareholders," chief executive John Stumpf said in a statement.

"First-quarter 2014 earnings were another record for our company and capital levels continued to strengthen," he added.

The San Francisco-based lender continued to notch better results due to improving credit quality. Credit losses were $825m in the January-March quarter, compared with $1.4 billion a year ago.

The improvement comes as more consumers pay bills on time and the bank's stash of non-performing assets diminishes. 

Total loans at Wells Fargo stood at $826.4 billion, up $4.2 billion from the previous year. Improving categories included commercial and industrial property.

But Wells Fargo reported new mortgage worth $36m, down $67m from the year ago level. The company also had fewer mortgage applications and a smaller application pipeline.

The results translated into $1.05 per share, better than the 97 cents forecast by Wall Street analysts. 

Revenues slipped from $21.26 billion to $20.63 billion. Analysts had forecast revenues of $20.6 billion.