SAN FRANCISCO (
management outlined the impact of some reform measures on Wednesday, but only those that will have relatively little impact.
On a conference call Wednesday, CFO Howard Atkins said a change to overdraft-fee practices, known as "Reg E," will hit revenue by $500 million in the second half of the year.
The impact of the CARD Act, which reins in credit-card fees and interest-rate hikes, will be $30 million, taken in the third quarter.
Atkin noted the amount was "much smaller than our peers, given our significantly smaller credit card portfolio." He also believes that some customers will opt back into overdraft protection; combined with other types of "offsets," he said the Reg E costs will "diminish over time" from elevated levels in the next couple of quarters.
The combined estimates are only 0.6% of the $85.6 billion in revenue that analysts expect Wells Fargo to deliver this year, according to
. But management was far less specific in regards to another key regulatory change that stands to impact Wells Fargo much more.
The Durbin interchange amendment is set to limit fees that banks can charge to merchants for accepting debit-card purchases. Wells Fargo is the second-largest debit-card issuer in the United States;
Bank of America
is the largest.
Bank of America's disclosure last week that it expects to take a write-down of up to $10 billion and a revenue hit of up to $2.3 billion a year from the change sparked a major bank-stock sell-off. It also led to criticism of
for not being more specific in their own estimates.
Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf said there is "simply insufficient information" to outline specific costs.
"Any estimates would be premature in our view," said Stumpf. "It is just too soon."
Stumpf emphasized that Wells Fargo has relatively little exposure to most of the harsher reform measures, and supports the broader goals of making the system safer and more consumer-friendly. However, he criticized the origin of the Durbin amendment and its position in a bill that aims to protect consumers and the broader financial system.
"I don't see how debit card fees between banks and merchants had anything to do with what happened in the last couple of years as a downturn," said Stumpf. "...There are things that we agree with and we think will make the industry and the country stronger. There are things that weren't tackled that will need to be tackled in some way, shape, or form. And there
are things that I don't understand how it impacted the downturn and, frankly, I don't agree with parts of it."
Aside from the interchange issue, Wells Fargo has
relatively little to worry about when it comes to financial reform. The bank doesn't have much exposure to most issues being targeted by the Dodd-Frank bill that President Obama signed into law on Wednesday -- from subprime lending and fee practices to proprietary trading and complex derivatives.
Bank of America appears to be taking the brunt of changes to consumer-lending practices. Reg E alone is expected to cut service charges by roughly $600 million on a quarterly basis, while CFO Charles Noski indicated the CARD Act has been one of the root causes of net interest income declines. It has reduced balances on which Bank of America can earn profits and created "an inability to reprice for risk," he said.
Other banks with big Wall Street operations, like
are facing additional headwinds over derivatives, proprietary trading, private equity and hedge funds.
Meanwhile, CreditSights issued a report on Wednesday -- echoing the sentiment of other bank analysts -- saying Wells is "most adaptable big bank regarding Dodd-Frank FinReg challenges."
The one issue that Stumpf
had earlier expressed concern about -- preemption -- seems to have been made null as the reform bill changed in the course of negotiations. Lawmakers had considered giving state regulators greater power over banks than federal ones, which threatened to create a complex patchwork of services and rules in all 50 states. But the final bill simply gives state attorneys general more power to take civil action.
In regards to preemption -- unlike the interchange issue -- Stumpf thinks Congress "got it mostly right."
"Consumers can live and work and borrow and use ATM machines and understand that there
are consistent laws across the land," he said.
-- Written by Lauren Tara LaCapra in New York
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