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Wells CFO Says Bank Is Basel Ready

Wells Fargo shares surged one day after banking regulators agreed on new international capital standards.



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Wells Fargo

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shares surged, along with the broader sector, one day after

banking regulators agreed on new international capital standards as part of Basel III


"There is still a lot to be determined from these regulations," Wells Fargo's CFO Howard Atkins said this morning at the Barclays Capital Global Financial Services Conference held in New York.

The new rules set a total common equity requirement of 7%, which is a combination of a minimum Tier 1 common equity of 4.5% as well as a requirement that banks hold a "capital conservation buffer" of 2.5%.

"As you can see, as of June 30, our Tier 1 common of 7.61%. We're growing capital very significantly internally," Atkins said. Wells Fargo has increased its Tier 1 common by approximately 115 basis points year to date. "There will be some deductions from that 7.6%, but we don't really see at this point that this is a big deal for us."

That being said, Atkins cautioned that Wells Fargo still needs to get approval from U.S. bank regulators in order to use its capital to benefit shareholders directly.

"We still have to get permission from the

regulators on either dividend or buybacks," Atkins said in answer to an attendee's question. "We'll have to see how quickly we can do that."

The only permission Wells Fargo has had so far is in repurchasing warrants associated with the U.S. Treasury Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, Atkins said. The bank repaid the TARP bailout funds last year.

Wells Fargo also has its hands full with the integration of Wachovia, which Atkins called the "gift that keeps on giving," in regards to revenue generation, cost savings and credit quality expectations that are better than expected.

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Buying another bank "wouldn't really make sense," Atkins said, but Wells Fargo continues to do "product acquisitions."

Wells Fargo shares surged 4% soon after the market opened. The stock was more recently rising 75 cents, or 2.9% to $26.51.

The two-day Barclays conference will feature leaders from U.S. large and regional banks as well as global financial services giving an update on their firms to investors. Bank leaders are sure to get a lot of questions regarding the latest capital regulations from attendees.

Listen to


staff reporters Maria Woehr and Laurie Kulikowski discuss what to expect from the Barclays conference, on

Bank Stock Buzz


JPMorgan Chase's

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Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon is expected to give the keynote lunchtime presentation at the Barclays conference on Tuesday.

Bank of America's

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CEO Brian Moynihan will present Tuesday afternoon.


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CEO Vikram Pandit will not be presenting at the conference. A spokesman said Pandit's schedule conflicted with the conference.

--Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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