November 23, 2008

Wells Fargo now the Nation’s largest bank

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo is now the nation’s largest bank in terms of value, with a market cap of $75.9 billion. In recent New York Stock Exchange trading, Wells moved ahead of J.P. Morgan Chase, which is now worth $75 billion. As reported in Bloomberg News, the San Francisco bank achieved the largest-bank status by being a contrarian in recent years, refusing to purchase mortgage assets at the peak of the market, issue millions of credit cards to those not already banking at Wells, trust that subprime paper blended together wouldn’t blow up or aspire to become a major player in investment banking, among other things. After Wells acquires East Coast rival Wachovia, it will also have the nation’s largest branch network. While there are other measures of bank size, Market cap reflects investor opinion on a bank’s operations and outlook and is considered the most reliable indicator.

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