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Expect Quick Wells Fargo Deal on TARP

Stocks in this article: C BAC WFC

Rochdale Securities analyst Richard Bove told that "to assume Citi can get out of this relationship makes no sense whatsoever."

Wells Fargo deal in the works

Wells Fargo owes $25 billion in TARP money, having issued preferred shares to the government after arm-twisting from former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. The former Goldman Sachs (GS) chief executive officer enlisted eight other companies, including JPMorgan Chase (JPM), which, like Wells Fargo, said it never needed the money.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Wells Fargo and Citigroup are arguing with government regulators over TARP repayment terms, since Federal Reserve and Treasury officials are requiring the banks to "raise more capital relative to what they are seeking to repay than Bank of America did."

That's understandable for Wells Fargo, since its tangible common equity ratio was 4.51% as of Sept. 30, the second-lowest of the 10 biggest banks yet to repay TARP, save PNC Financial (PNC).

Wells Fargo also has the highest nonperforming-assets ratio, at 4.43%, only exceeded by Zions Bancorp (ZION) and Marshall & Ilsley (MI).

Bank of America's stock price is higher than it was before the company said it was raising money. That said, this would be a good time for Wells Fargo to increase its capital and quickly make a deal to repay TARP, especially since shareholders haven't been massively diluted by previous conversions, as Citigroup's shareholders have.

Comerica and Key

Looking further down the list, Comerica and KeyCorp (KEY) have the highest tangible common equity ratios among the 10 banks -- both above 7.5%.

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