NEW YORK (
may be the only bank that can do what it likes with TARP.
While other big banks such as
rushed to exit the Troubled Asset Relief Program as quickly as possible, Wells Fargo doesn't seem so troubled by TARP.
Bank of America
rammed through a secondary stock sale to repay TARP and escape from the government's clutches,
quickly started rumbling about its own quest for freedom. Not so for Wells Fargo.
From the start of the banking bailout, Wells Fargo managed to keep the government at bay. It's always fun to recall how Wells Fargo Chairman Richard Kovacevich criticized the bank bailout program back in March and called the
Meanwhile, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf keeps making clear that he'll exit TARP on his own terms and in a way that is best for his shareholders.
As Don Dion points out in his piece today called
, a secondary offering to repay the bailout funds could prove devastating to Wells Fargo investors such as Warren Buffett.
While I think every bank should get out of the bailout program as fast as it can, I respect the way Wells Fargo is toying with TARP. This bank refuses to bow to government pressure and stands its ground. The leadership at Wells Fargo is rightly focused on creating value for its stockholders, so if they can use the $25 billion in taxpayer funds to do that, then why not?
--Written by Glenn Hall in New York.
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