(Bloomberg) -- Wells Fargo & Co. posted worse-than-expected expenses in the fourth quarter and took charges of more than $1 billion for restructuring and addressing old account scandals as the bank struggles to cut costs in the midst of the pandemic.Non-interest expenses fell 5.2% to $14.8 billion, roughly half the decline analysts predicted, as firms across industries grapple with heightened costs tied to Covid-19. Wells Fargo said expenses this year are likely to total roughly $53 billion, excluding restructuring charges and business exits, down from $54 billion excluding customer-remediation and restructuring charges in 2020.In his first year atop the bank, Chief Executive Officer Charlie Scharf has repeatedly lamented Wells Fargo’s high costs, pledging to eventually shave $10 billion off annual expenses. As part of the expense trimming, he’s embarked on workforce reductions that could ultimately number in the tens of thousands. Wells Fargo cut its headcount by 6,400 in the fourth quarter.“Our results continued to be impacted by the unprecedented operating environment and the required work to put our substantial legacy issues behind us,” Scharf said in a statement Friday. “With a more consistent broad-based recovery and as we continue to press forward with our agenda, we expect you will see that this franchise is capable of much more.”Quarterly results were hurt by a $321 million charge related to customer remediation and $781 million of restructuring charges. Still, net income rose to $2.99 billion, better than the $2.9 billion analysts expected, as the bank released credit-loss reserves tied to the sale of its student-loan portfolio.Scharf joined Wells Fargo in late 2019 with a mission of moving the firm past a series of scandals that began with the 2016 revelation that employees opened millions of fake accounts. The lender remains under a Federal Reserve-imposed asset cap limiting it from expanding its balance sheet beyond $1.95 trillion, its end-of-2017 level. Friday also marks the bank’s first time reporting with restructured business lines after Scharf broke three units into five.Wells Fargo released $763 million of loan-loss reserves for the three months through Dec. 31. Scharf said last month that credit performance has been “far better than what we would have expected,” but cautioned that much remains uncertain. The firm now has $19.7 billion set aside for soured loans, 2.2% of its total loan book.Non-accrual loans jumped 8.8% from the third quarter due to increases in the bank’s commercial real estate, residential mortgage and lease-financing portfolios, countered by a decrease in commercial and industrial.The firm said it would restart stock buybacks after the Fed last month gave banks the green light to resume repurchasing shares following a second round of 2020 stress tests. Wells Fargo’s board approved a repurchase increase of 500 million shares, bringing the total authorized buyback amount to 667 million.Shares fell 4.9% to $33.06 at 9:41 a.m. in New York. The stock has dropped 32% in the past 12 months, compared with a 1.7% decline for the KBW Bank Index.NII SinksNet interest income, Wells Fargo’s largest source of revenue, sank to the lowest level in more than a decade as the impact of low rates continues to bite into the earnings. The firm earned $9.3 billion in net interest income for the quarter, compared with the $9.4 billion analysts expected. The bank said Friday that 2021 net interest income will be flat to down 4% from the annualized fourth-quarter level, which was $36.8 billion.Rival JPMorgan Chase & Co. also reported fourth-quarter results Friday, posting record profit after a surge in trading and investment-banking fees helped its Wall Street unit close out its most profitable year ever. JPMorgan also released loan-loss reserves for the second straight quarter.Also in Wells Fargo’s fourth-quarter results:Revenue fell 10% to $17.9 billion, missing analysts’ estimates of $18.1 billion.The bank’s efficiency ratio, a measure of profitability, worsened to 83% from 81% in the third quarter.(Updates shares in 10th paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.