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In The News

Wells Fargo Becomes Nation's Most Valuable Bank — Ever

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf spent Monday basking in the limelight after his bank's long-running success passed another milestone, becoming the nation's most valuable bank ever.
Wells Fargo's stock-market cap hit $285.5 billion on Dec. 5, based on 5.19 billion shares outstanding as of Oct. 31, according to Bloomberg News.
Wells broke the previous record for the most valuable U.S. bank ever, which was set when Citigroup (NYSE: C) hit $283.4 billion in February 2001. Wells was still ahead of that figure Monday, when its shares slipped 26 cents to close in New York at $54.77, according to Yahoo Finance. In the past 12 months, shares have climbed 26.5 percent.
On Monday, Stumpf participated in an extended interview with Bloomberg TV in New York in which he stressed the importance of Wells Fargo's culture in the bank's success. He also pointed to Wells Fargo's willingness to lose market share in businesses such as mortgage lending when rivals go crazy, which occurred at the height of the historic housing bubble.
"We have a conservative bias. That's one of the strengths of our company," Stumpf said of Wells Fargo's lending policies.
San Francisco-based Wells Fargo's (NYSE: WFC) performance in recent years also got a big lift from its 2008 purchase of troubled Wachovia amid the financial crisis. Also giving the stock a boost is Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, (NYSE: BRK) (NYSE: BRK.A) (NYSE: BRK.B) which is the largest shareholder of Wells Fargo with an 8.9 percent stake worth $24 billion.
Wells Fargo's success in serving Main Street was the focus of a San Francisco Business Times cover story last year.
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