With growth in mind, I see little alternative to non US banks. Is there any low hanging fruit left in the US? Too big to fail is going to get in the way of growth by the megas here in the states. I have two word for you ... Elizabeth Warren. Smooth integration seems nearly impossible in this environment. There are plenty of land mines across the globe, but Wells thrives in places like California. Does it get any more foreign than that?
I think if Wells would use some of the same criteria for buying competitiors as they did in the days that Inaz brought up (pre Wells and Wachovia), they would be fine looking at other geographies. The US banking industry is looking more like an over regulated utility every day. The growth of the middle class across the globe might be fertile fields for a company like Wells Fargo. Growth through acquisition in the US has quite a few barriers and Wells is already the leader in many geographies and segments of the financial business in the US. With the attitude of the Norwest acquisitions with high hurdles for accretion and never overpaying, Wells could take advantage of a bigger pool of possible acquisitions. Granted there are a lot of potential land mines to be avoided, but I don't see a return to the growth rate experienced in the hay day of Norwest within the borders of the USA. A guy like #$%$ K wouldn't hurt either.