In July and September 2008 I wrote the following in private emails in the midst of the looming national financial crisis. At the time, Wells Fargo was ranked approximately #5 overall among the top domestic commercial banks in terms of asset value and other criteria, with no expectation that it could overtake the largest commercial and investment banks located principally on the East Coast:
15 July 2008: “ The bank’s value [Wells Fargo’s] increases with each disaster.“
21 September 2008: “Wells is going to stay and lead, even beyond some of its larger sister and cousin institutions.”
Follow-up 25 May 2012 [almost 4 years later]:
Here is a short excerpt from Maxwell Fisher’s Motley Fool Bloggers Network longer article published on 24 May 2012, that merits my going “on the record” on this matter several years later:
From a CNN Money Alert, mentioning a Motley Fool article: “Wells Fargo is the King of Banking for Now” – 05/24/2012
“In sharp contrast to the travails of its major competitors, Wells Fargo appears to have made, at least in my reckoning, several smart moves that distinguish its performance from the likes of Citigroup, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM). It has focused on maintaining its dominant position in the mortgage market and its disciplined manner of functioning has enabled to avoid the worst excesses of the subprime fiasco while placing it in a good position to capitalize on the recovery of the US economy. This indicates that the focus is on its core business and the first-quarter results are testimony to the success of the strategy.
Wells Fargo has also proved itself to be superior to its rivals in its PR strategy where large banks are generally regarded with suspicion and distrust because of the financial crisis of the last few years. It has shown its willingness and eagerness to work with nonprofit organizations and has even won an award for its assistance to local communities. I must confess that the same cannot be said of several other major banks.“
From a Motley Fool Article, 2 August 2012:
Wells Fargo Is the Last Bank Standing at a New High (WFC).
“The banking industry has not been a good place to invest over the past few years. Wells Fargo is the exception that proves the rule, as it is now the only major bank you can buy that’s had a positive performance since just before the housing bust:….”
[Update November 2020]
Wells paid the price of deviating from its mission and core values. When the internal voices that insisted on integrity left or were pushed out, the company went downhill fast, even though it took a few years for the results of those poor decisions to reach public awareness, with significant negative consequences. A customer service orientation supports, rather than threatens, a company’s bottom line. Period. So much for the emphasis on shareholder value when scandal after scandal rocks the markets and destroys trust. Should be pretty simple, but…