Stress Test 'Asinine,' Says Wells Fargo Chairman

The stress test for banks came under fire from Wells Fargo's chairman, who criticized the government's handling of the bank bailout program in a speech last week, according to a published report.
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Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Report

Chairman Richard Kovacevich criticized the government's handling of the bank bailout program in a speech last week, taking a markedly different tone from statements made by other

bank leaders

in recent days.

Kovacevich called the Obama administration's plan to stress test banks "asinine." He also blamed Wells Fargo's recent

dividend cut

on costly provisions that the government added to the bailout plan retroactively.

"We do stress tests all the time on all of our portfolios," Kovacevich said in a speech Friday at Stanford University, according to

Bloomberg

. "We share those stress tests with our regulators. It is absolutely asinine that somebody would announce we're going to do stress tests for banks and we'll give you the answer in 12 weeks."

Wells leaders have repeatedly said that the firm did not need government funds, but was strong-armed into accepting them to stabilize the financial system and avoid stigmatizing competing banks that needed to accept government dollars.

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

and

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

have received the most money from the government, followed by Wells,

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

,

Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Report

and

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

.

Kovacevich said that without the $25 billion Wells received from the government, it would have been able to raise private capital. If Wells had raised private capital, he added, the company would not have had to slash its dividend, or make other moves to preserve cash and keep up appearances -- like cutting executive bonuses and canceling promotional events.