Actually, you did an effective job of making my point for me - which was less "from 'x' to 'y' BBT outperformed BRKA" (which it did), but that arbitrarily picking dates can make a lot of great companies look pedestrian.
Yes, I came up with 4% which is not negative. But you also said "like BB&T has since 12/98". If we are going to pick nits (hey "what is - is") I need to point out that the split/dividend adjusted price for 12/98 ranged from $30.90 to $33.48, which - based on a current price of $34.87 is a total return of somewhere between 4% and 13% - "did you think that was negative?" :-)
Yes, Buffet's overall track record is fabulous, and BBT's is pretty solid as well. If you move the date you measure from by a little bit for either company it tends to change your results. The end of Q2 for BBT was a split/dividend adjusted price of 21.01 - people who bought shares at that point are quite a bit happier at almost $35 than people who owned the S&P and are still underwater by about 20%+ - and they were happier in November of last year than the Buffet crowd was at the time (though they have since done quite well). I'm not actually very bullish about Buffet's baby going forward - it's too big to really understand all of those lines of business and the man is not going to live forever. It's a lot easier for a lifetime banker to understand how to run a bank than for a brilliant investor to understand Coke AND GE AND currency fluctuation etc.etc.etc ad nauseum.
Best of luck to you as well. I'm not in the business of even 18 month predicitons though it seems quite likely that it will at least "go up". I don't know BBTs A/L balance well enough to talk about rate moves. I don't know how long current "restructuring" and "digesting of FVB" will take. I don't know what "impossible-to-pass-up" mergers will come down the pike. I don't even know that the "community banking" model is the one that will work for 20-30 years.
But I do know that it is the only philosophy that SHOULD work. Huge banks that get too far from their clients don't DESERVE our business.
Again - Thanks for the conversation. I already owe the company an extra 30 minutes for all the time I spent on you. But it was fun.