|Bid||47.48 x 3200|
|Ask||47.51 x 3200|
|Day's Range||47.18 - 48.21|
|52 Week Range||43.34 - 54.75|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||1.10|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||11.75|
|Earnings Date||Apr 13, 2020|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||2.04 (4.23%)|
|Ex-Dividend Date||Nov 06, 2019|
|1y Target Est||51.09|
One way in which the sales-practices scandal that shook Wells Fargo & Co. in 2016 was worse than you think.
Airplane manufacturer Boeing Co is in talks with banks to obtain up to US$12bn in loans, a move that comes as financial pressures mount on a company reeling from a production halt on its 737 MAX aircraft, sources said. Citigroup is leading the new transaction, which opens at 100bp over Libor, in line with Boeing's current borrowing costs. The loan pays a 9bp fee before the company draws down on the funds.
Consumer groups had worried that the Trump administration's pick to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Joseph Otting, would do little to change its reputation for leniency. A former chief executive of California's OneWest Bank, Otting as comptroller has referred to lenders as his "customers" and pursued rule changes pushed for by bank lobbyists. One person with knowledge of the matter said Wells Fargo's failure to swiftly fix systemic misconduct has angered Otting, precisely because he spent decades as a banker and felt he was held to high standards.
I started my professional career in banking. First I was with Merrill Lynch International Bank, then with the boutique Mark Twain Bank -- now part of U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) -- and onto Investec.The key to banking is to gather deposits, seek out opportunities to make loans, cut costs and maximize fee income -- and make absolutely sure that you know how the bank will get paid interest and principal.There are specific metrics to measure how a bank is faring. Banks report deposit and loan growth, of course. And they report profit margins. These include the net interest margin (NIM) which is the difference between what a bank pays for deposits and what it earns in loans. And for cost controls there's the efficiency ratio which measures the percentage of what it costs a bank to earn each dollar in revenue. The lower the ratio, the lower the costs and the higher the profit margins.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsU.S. bank stocks have been lagging for some time. First, interest rates have remained quite low as the Federal Reserve and its Open Market Committee (FOMC) has been buying bonds to drive yields lower. With rates so low, NIM was also kept very low, leaving little profitability for banks in their traditional job of attracting deposits and making loans.Then, in response to that same mess, banks were burdened with a myriad of capital requirements, which ultimately drove up costs. These regulations led efficiency ratios way up and in turn drove down profit. The result is that over the past ten years, bank stocks as tracked by the KBW Bank Index have woefully trailed the return of the general S&P 500 by 83.4%.Source: Chart by Bloomberg But in the fourth quarter of 2019 banks stocks got some investor interest as they were pitched as value stocks. And the KBW Bank Index got some life in the process.Source: Chart by Bloomberg However, we've now gotten a collection of quarterly reports from the big banks in the U.S. and it is not good. NIM is down -- made worse with the FOMC's resumption of quantitative easing (QE), bond buying and lower targeted interest rates. And efficiency ratios are getting worse as promised regulatory relief is not panning out.Meanwhile, alternatives to banks have been thriving without the same regulations. The alt-financials are doing much better and their shareholders are being better rewarded.Last year I dumped the banks inside my Profitable Investing because of all the false starts for NIM and efficiencies. And with banks getting positive news of recent, I am arguing again that U.S. bank stocks should not be bought -- and should be sold right now. Bank Stocks to Sell: Wells Fargo (WFC)Source: Chart by Bloomberg Let's start with Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC). Now, forget about the regulatory purgatory that the bank finds itself in after years of customer abuse and the millions of dollars in fines announced this week. And forget about the restrictions on the bank's size and growth resulting from the history of fraud.Wells Fargo has other core issues.Deposits are barely moving with the trailing year seeing anemic growth of 2.8%. But what really stings is that loan growth is only 1.7% -- in an economy which remains robust. Net interest margin (NIM) is only 2.8%Source: Chart by Bloomberg That NIM is down sharply and reflects the challenges given the changes in short-term U.S. interest rates. But what is more disturbing is the cost of revenue, with the efficiency ratio at a whopping 78.1% -- which to remind you means that it takes 78.1 cents to make $1 in revenue. That's not a way to be profitable for shareholders.The return on assets is on par with other banks at 1%, but the return on equity is weak at 10.6%. The one grace is that non-performing assets (NPAs) are quite low at 0.3% of total assets and 0.6% of total loans.Shareholders have been getting what they deserve if they still own this stock. Over the trailing five years, WFC has lost 9.5% in price and managed to return on 5.7%. This compares to the S&P 500's return of 79.5% and the KBW Bank Index return of 79.7%. Bank of America (BAC)Source: Chart by Bloomberg Next up is Bank of America (NYSE:BAC). This bank is not much better even without the fraud issues of Wells Fargo. NIM continues to fall over the past two quarters, reversing modest gains, and is down to 2.5%. And while the efficiency ratio is much better than in the prior quarter, at 59% it is still very high.Source: Chart by Bloomberg Return on assets is again on par at 1.1%, but not impressive. And the return on equity is low at a mere 10.7%. NPA represent 0.2% of total assets and 0.4% of total loans, so risks are muted. But deposits aren't moving up much at a rate of 3.9%. Loan growth is low at 3.7%.What is interesting is that BAC has been able to both outpace the S&P 500 and the KBW Bank Index in total return over the trailing five years.Despite the improved stock price, this brings trouble for investors. This is because the market has really only bolstered the valuation of the stock, rather than the company bolstering its underlying book and sales numbers.Source: Chart by Bloomberg Regions Financial (RF)Source: Chart by Bloomberg Regions Financial (NYSE:RF) was a favored bank of mine back in 2018. The U.S.-centric bank has regional presences in some of the best parts of the country. And the U.S. economy was set to improve its financial performances. Indeed, if you look at its 2018 quarterly reports, you'll see some signs of improving NIM and efficiency ratios which came from better management.But that's now reversed, with NIM dropping to 3.4% and the efficiency ratio climbing to 60.1%.But what really looks bad for Regions is in the core business of being a bank. Deposits are up at 3.2%, but loans -- the core way that banks make money -- have only managed to edge up by 0.2%. That's terrible. And while NPA are low (no wonder given the low growth rate) the resulting return on assets is only 1.3% with return on equity only managing to reach 10.3%.That said, somehow folks have been willing to pay up for the bank's shares with the past five years seeing a return of 105.3% compared to the S&P 500 and KBW Bank indices generating returns in the 79% range.But don't get carried away. Unlike how enthusiasm in BAC is pushing up price-to-book and price-to-sales ratios, with Regions, the stock price has come more in line with weaker valuation measures. The price-to-book ratio is sitting just above 1 and the price-to-sales ratio sits at 2.4 times.Source: Chart by Bloomberg I see more challenges for growth in Regions and more cost cutting ahead. U.S. Bancorp (USB)Source: Chart by Bloomberg U.S. Bancorp is perhaps one of the better banks in the U.S. market. It wants to stay in business even if that means a more modest growth rate. The case in point is the run-up in U.S. financials leading to the mortgage mess starting in the summer of 2007.U.S. Bancorp was fine. It didn't need any funds or assistance from the Troubled Asset Relief Program under 2008's Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. But it went along with parts of the TARP as to not make its peers look bad.Source: Chart by Bloomberg But this doesn't make things much better for the shareholders. The bank has seen its NIM drop to a current level of 3.2%. And with costs out of control, the efficiency ratio is up sharply to 60%.To be fair, USB has been better at attracting deposits, with growth running at 4.8%. And its bankers have been doing something as loan growth is up by 4.4%. But that loan growth is still way lower than levels throughout 2016.The return on assets is a bit healthier at 1.4% as is the return on equity running at 14.5%. The conservative nature of the bank has NPA to total assets and total loans at barely-there levels of 0.2% and 0.3% respectively. So, the bank isn't going anywhere even if the U.S. economy reverses.But shareholders and the stock market have not been kind to the stock. The return trails the S&P 500 and KBW Bank indices. And this stock performance also shows up in the valuation of the bank with P/B and P/S ratios both drifting lower over the trailing three years.Source: Chart by Bloomberg Now a further word about banks in the U.S. and the elections. With the current administration, banks have gotten a little bit of relief. But if there is a change of guard on Nov. 3, banks will be in further peril with projected ramp-ups in regulatory issues and capital requirements. This is perhaps (outside of petroleum-related companies) the most at-risk sector in the election run-up. Bankers Busted & BestedEvery industry has its disruptors. The old and established leaders get comfortable doing things the same way, because that's what has worked for decades. Sometimes disruptors come with new ideas and approaches. Others come with new technologies.Banking is getting it badly. Technology companies referred to as financial technology (fintech) continue to rapidly rollout non-bank payment, loan and deposit apps. These are increasingly making banking with traditional banks less necessary, if not more costly. And even mortgages can be applied for or refinanced via apps.This has led many newer stocks to grab investor attention including Square (NYSE:SQ) with its alternative mobile payment and point-of-sale services. It may be gathering new adopters with revenue up over the trailing year by 49%, but it has negative operating margins of 1.1%.And dividends? Not with Square's cash burn. No wonder that in the trailing year insiders have been reporting millions upon millions of shares sold -- not bought. Bad indicator.Then there's Fiserv (NASDAQ:FISV) which provides behind-the-scenes services to alt-financial companies. This company is a bit more responsible, with operating margins running at 30.1%. Those margins in turn are helping the return on equity reach a meager 5.3%. But its sales are anemic with gains over the trailing year of only 2.2%.Fintech might be a good disruptor for beating traditional banks -- but not so rewarding for investors. But what are beating and besting traditional banks are what I call alt-financials. These companies are doing what banks used to be good -- making loans and earning lots of interest and fee income.Alt-financials come from three obscure bits of Congressional legislation: The Investment Companies Act of 1940, the Small Business Investment Incentive Act of 1980 and the Cigar Excise Tax Extension Act of 1960. Bank Business DevelopersBack in the late 1970s, inflation was out of control, driving interest rates to the moon. This made banks reticent to lend, since they didn't know what to expect in return. So, the 1980 legislation allowed non-banks to operate as investment companies which could make loans and invest in financing facilities. This began what are largely known as business development companies (BDCs) which also do not have to pay traditional corporate income taxes.BDCs have been a very successful business model over the past many years. They continue to outperform banks in total return, as measured by the MVIS BDC Index compared to the KBW Bank Index.Source: Chart by Bloomberg BDCs are outside much regulatory purview and they don't do deposits. And it shows in the performance of the MVIS BDC Index, generating a trailing year return of 20.8% including an average trailing tax-advantaged dividend yield of 9.3%. This compares to the KBW Bank Index return of 16.8% and its lower average yield of 2.7%.Moreover, BDCs also participate in the business loan market. Although this market can be shady, well-run BDCs can participate in senior loans, adding them to their portfolio assets. And senior loans continue to perform well, even as non-bank companies continue to grab more of the business loan market.Source: Chart by Bloomberg Bank Stocks to Buy: Hercules Capital (HTGC)Source: Chart by Bloomberg In the model portfolios of my Profitable Investing, I have a great BDC in Hercules Capital (NYSE:HTGC). Hercules is based in Palo Alto, California, with offices around the nation. It focuses on working with technology companies and has a good track record of financing startups to become bold-faced names in the tech market. HTGC makes loans and provides other financing and also takes equity participation in its portfolio companies. It then works with them like bankers used to do, by guiding them along to an exit strategy.NIM is ample at 9.4% and the efficiency ratio is good at 52.5% (the lower the ratio, the greater the profitability, as noted earlier). Revenues are up 8.8% for the trailing year and it feeds a nice annual dividend stream including regular special distributions yielding 9.2%.And note, I have Hercules Capital as my one stock for 2020 in InvestorPlace.com's Best Stocks for 2020 contest. Main Street Capital (MAIN)Source: Chart by Bloomberg Then I also have Main Street Capital (NYSE:MAIN) inside Profitable Investing. This BDC focuses on more mundane small to middle-market companies. It has wide financial margin and an efficiency ratio of an amazing 8.2%. Plus it pays an annual dividend -- including regular special distributions -- yielding 6.6%. TPG Specialty Lending (TSLX)Source: Chart by Bloomberg Then there is my recommended TPG Specialty Lending (NYSE:TSLX). This alt-financial provides financing and capital to a variety of companies, including loan assets in its portfolio. TSLX is part of the famous TPG Capital, formally the Texas Pacific Group. TPG is one of the largest and most successful private equity firms in the world. It's safe to say that TPG Specialty draws great talent and resources from its affiliate.Revenues are up on a tear with the trailing year climbing by 24.2%. Its NIM is running at 10.2% and it keeps its efficiency ratio humming at a profitable 31.5%.The company has generated a return of 101.1% over the trailing five years for an average annual equivalent of 15%.It pays regular dividends quarterly providing a yield of 7.1%. But thanks to special payments, its dividend is closer to a yield of 8.3%. MFA Financial (MFA)Source: Chart by Bloomberg Banks used to be big in the mortgage business. That's been changing, particularly after 2007-2008. Now others are in the market to originate and own mortgages. Inside my model portfolios of Profitable Investing I have MFA Financial (NYSE:MFA) which is structured as a REIT under the Cigar Excise legislation noted earlier.MFA owns and runs a mortgage portfolio, which in turn fuels an ample dividend yielding 10.1%. And it has proven itself during times of adversary.Over the past ten trailing years MFA has delivered a return of 258.5% for an average annual equivalent of 13.6%. Buy it in a taxable account as 20% of its dividends qualify as deductible from income tax liabilities. That makes its payout distributions even more attractive after taxes.Neil George was once an all-star bond trader, but now he works morning and night to steer readers away from traps -- and into safe, top-performing income investments. Neil's new income program is a cash-generating machine … one that can help you collect $208 every day the market's open. Neil does not have any holdings in the securities mentioned above. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 7 Stocks on the Move Thanks to the Davos World Economic Forum * Invest in America's Most Trusted Brands With These 7 Stocks to Buy * 7 Earnings Reports to Watch Next Week The post 4 Bank Stocks to Sell and 4 Cash-Generating Alternatives to Buy appeared first on InvestorPlace.
The Department of Justice is looking into whether executives withheld details about fake accounts to the Wells Fargo board of directors and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the lead regulator for national banks, Reuters has reported. Consent orders: Wells Fargo is currently operating under roughly 14 consent orders with various regulators including the OCC, SEC, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has announced heavy penalties against former bosses of Wells Fargo over a fake accounts scandal. The reversal of fortune has been painful since the controversy erupted in 2016. As new chief executive Charlie Scharf recently noted, Wells Fargo had emerged from the 2008 financial crisis “as the most valuable and most respected bank in the US”.
(Bloomberg) -- Seven years ago, Wells Fargo & Co.’s security chief opened a few “undercover” bank accounts to aid law enforcement. Within 24 hours, two employees tacked on debit cards, claiming they each personally spoke to the new -- fictional -- customers.“All I could do was shake my head,” the security chief told a senior executive in an email.The exchange was among dozens of behind-the-scenes moments of frustration and fear cited by U.S. regulators Thursday seeking to impose a record $59 million in fines on the bank’s former leaders for allowing sales abuses to pervade its nationwide branch network. Three settled, including ex-Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf, who agreed to be banned from the industry and pay a $17.5 million penalty -- an unprecedented sanction of a former U.S. bank leader. Five others are fighting the case.The bank’s aggressive targets for opening new accounts “caused hundreds of thousands of employees to engage in numerous types of sales practices misconduct,” the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency wrote in its complaint against them.The bank’s staff confronted a stark dilemma every day for 14 years, according to the regulator: “They could engage in sales practices misconduct -- much of which was illegal -- to meet their goals, or they could struggle to meet their goals and face adverse consequences, including losing their jobs.”The OCC faulted Stumpf for failing “to respond to numerous warning signs.” Former chief administrative officer Hope Hardison and onetime risk chief Michael Loughlin also resolved its claims.‘Forced to Walk’The agency is looking to levy the heftiest penalty -- $25 million -- against former community banking chief Carrie Tolstedt. She and four other former executives -- general counsel Jim Strother, chief auditor David Julian, audit director Paul McLinko and community banking risk officer Claudia Russ Anderson -- are facing a public hearing before an administrative law judge. The regulator said it could decide to increase the civil penalties based on the evidence presented.An attorney for Russ Anderson didn’t respond to messages seeking comment. Representatives for the other four said the executives acted with integrity, sought to tackle problems and expect to clear their names once all of the facts are heard.The OCC laced its 100-page complaint against them with emails, internal memos and testimony, arguing that for years Wells Fargo’s management refused to ease off sales targets despite repeated warnings about abuses.“The bank had better tools and systems to detect employees who did not meet unreasonable sales goals than it did to catch employees” engaging in misconduct, the regulator said. Some were allegedly told that if they missed targets, they would be “transferred to a store where someone had been shot and killed” and if they did not make enough appointments they would be “forced to walk out in the hot sun around the block.”Gulf War StressWorkers warned bosses about the fallout of that pressure in impassioned memos.“The termination ax is suspended over our head one way or another,” an employee wrote in a complaint sent to Tolstedt’s office in 2012, according to the OCC. “Meet unreasonable goals or you will be terminated, cheat to meet the unreasonable goals and you will be terminated when caught.”“I was in the 1991 Gulf War,” another employee wrote to Stumpf’s office. “This is sad and hard for me to say, but I had less stress in the 1991 Gulf War than working for Wells Fargo.”Senior executives also heard about the trouble directly from affected customers. A former operating committee member’s wife received two debit cards in the mail that she hadn’t requested. The executive raised it with Tolstedt, who eventually told him to stop telling the story “because she thought it reflected poorly on the community bank,” the OCC wrote.The scandal erupted in September 2016, setting off a national furor. It prompted congressional hearings, Stumpf’s exit and more probes, including still-pending investigations by the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission. The ire has spanned the political spectrum from Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren to Republican President Donald Trump.The OCC previously seized unusual control over hiring and firing the bank’s leaders and, with other regulators, inflicted billions of dollars in fines and other costs on the company. But Thursday’s case was the agency’s first targeting executives over the matter. And it contrasts with the years after the financial crisis, when no CEO of a major U.S. bank was punished for faulty mortgage-bond sales and home foreclosures that upended the economy and hurt millions of Americans.Stumpf’s successor, Tim Sloan, stepped down last year after lawmakers and the agency expressed frustration with the pace of the bank’s cleanup. His replacement, Charlie Scharf, took over in October.“We are reviewing today’s filings and will determine what, if any, further action by the company is appropriate with respect to any of the named individuals,” Scharf told employees on Thursday, noting the bank won’t make any remaining compensation payments to the individuals during the review. “This was inexcusable. Our customers and you all deserved more from the leadership of this company.”To contact the reporters on this story: Hannah Levitt in New York at email@example.com;Jesse Hamilton in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at email@example.com, ;Jesse Westbrook at firstname.lastname@example.org, David Scheer, Dan ReichlFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
John Stumpf’s settlement was one of several actions the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced Thursday against former Wells Fargo executives over customer-account misconduct.
Wells Fargo former Chairman and CEO John Stumpf agreed to a lifetime ban from the banking industry over the bank's 2016 sales-practices scandal.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a notice of charges against five former Wells Fargo & Co. executives on Thursday, for their role in a sales-practices scandal that led to the creation of millions of fake bank accounts. "The actions announced by the OCC today reinforce the agency's expectations that management and employees of national banks and federal savings associations provide fair access to financial services, treat customers fairly, and comply with applicable laws and regulations," Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting said in a statement. The agency is seeking to fine Carrie Tolstedt, former head of the bank's retail operations, $25 million in the form of a civil money penalty (CMP) and to issue her a lifetime prohibition order from participating in the banking industry. It is seeking to fine Claudia Russ Anderson, former community bank group risk officer, $5 million and issue her a prohibition order. It is seeking to fine James Strother, former general counsel, $5 million along with a personal cease & desist order (PC&D). A PC&D requires the individual to take remedial actions or refrain from certain conduct in future dealings in the banking industry. It is seeking to fine former Chief Auditor David Julian $2 million with a PC&D order, to fine former Executive Audit Director Paul McLinko $500,000 with a PC&D order. The agency said it has also issued a prohibition order and a $17.5 million CMP against former Chairman and CEO John Stumpf; a PC&D order and a $2.25 million CMP against the bank's former Chief Administrative Officer and Director of Corporate Human Resources Hope Hardison; and a PC&D order and assessment of a $1.25 million CMP against former Chief Risk Officer Michael Loughlin for their roles in the bank's sales practices misconduct. Wells Fargo responded by saying it will not make any further compensation payments to the individuals named, while it reviews the filings. Shares were slightly lower Thursday and have fallen 3.6% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.
A U.S. bank regulator announced Thursday that several senior former Wells Fargo executives face potential lifetime industry bans and millions of dollars in civil penalties for their roles in the bank's long-running sales practices scandal. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced civil charges against five former senior bank executives and settlements of charges with three other senior bank officials, including former Chief Executive John Stumpf.
Wells Fargo & Co's U.S. regulator on Thursday announced it had banned former Chief Executive John Stumpf from the banking industry and charged him and seven other former executives combined more than $58 million in civil penalties for their roles in the bank's multi-year sales practices scandal. The action by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) marks a rare example of senior executives being held personally accountable for failing to put a stop to misconduct at their bank. It also broke new ground for the regulator, which forced Stumpf to pay $17.5 million (13.3 million pounds) to settle the charges against him - the largest ever penalty it has secured from an individual.