Charles Schwab (SCHW) became the first online broker to report its third quarter earnings yesterday. Net income for the third quarter of 2012 was $247 million. This is down 10% from second quarter earnings, but up 12% versus the third quarter in 2011. Earnings per share came in at 19 cents per share for the third quarter of 2012. Analysts were expecting 17 cents per share, so the company did beat expectations. Revenues rose 1.3% from a year ago. Net income for the nine months ending on September 30, 2012 was $717 million, 2% higher than the same time frame a year ago. The year-to-date figure for 2012 does include a one-time gain of $44 million relating to the resolution of a vendor dispute in the second quarter.

CEO and President Walt Bettinger commented, “Our clients remain resilient yet cautious in this challenging economic environment.” He went on to say that while trading levels were muted during this past quarter, they were consistent with previous election years. The company was able to bring in 198,000 new brokerage accounts in the third quarter. Schwab now has 8.7 million active brokerage accounts, which is 3% more than they had at this time a year ago. CFO Joe Martinetto said, “Our third quarter financial performance once again demonstrated the combined power of our growing client base, diversified revenue streams and ongoing expense discipline.”

Schwab is counting on its full-service model to push the company forward through a challenging economic environment. Other online brokers will be reporting in the next few days, and will keep you posted on those reports!

For Schwab’s third quarter earnings press release click here.