Wells Fargo & Co.’s John Stumpf, who leads the most valuable bank in U.S. history, said the nation’s economy will grow faster in 2015 than economists estimate and that some financial regulation is easing.
“While we don’t expect next year to be a breakout year, we’re probably on the upper end of expectations of the consensus of economists,” the San Francisco-based lender’s chief executive said on Monday in an interview on Bloomberg TV.
Automobiles, agriculture and commercial real estate are among industries doing well, Stumpf said. The U.S. economy will grow at 3 percent in 2015, according to the median estimate of 87 economists polled in November by Bloomberg. The estimates ranged from 1.5 percent to 4.2 percent.
Wells Fargo ended last week as the most valuable U.S. bank ever, surpassing Citigroup Inc.’s 2001 record with a market capitalization of $285.5 billion. The firm, which counts Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. as its largest shareholder, doubled in size with its 2008 purchase of Wachovia Corp. and now oversees the most U.S. branches and makes about 25 percent of mortgages in the country.
Regulation and legislation have swung too far in the direction of being overly restrictive, Stumpf said.
Wells Fargo was originally a Minnesota bank named Norwest Corp. It is still the state’s largest bank, with branches in most towns and 20,000 in-state employees. It has a large mortgage operation in south Minneapolis, two large technology centers and a key institutional trust office in the Twin Cities.
Wells Fargo shares were up 4 cents to $55.07 at 11:44 a.m. Monday. The shares have climbed 21 percent this year, topping the 8.2 percent rise in the 24-firm KBW Bank Index. Citigroup set the previous record in 2001 when it hit $283.4 billion.
Staff writer Adam Belz contributed to this report.