Wells Fargo (WFC) is in the news for two main reasons - its investment in an environmental grant program and its choice of a new president for its Financial Network.
Wells Fargo has launched its grant program, and it hopes that this will give $100 million to various nonprofit organizations and universities involved in environmental endeavors by the year 2020. As things stand, we already know that the financial institute has established a $15 million relationship with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). Wells Fargo will work closely with the NFWF over the next five years, and it will focus its philanthropic energy on sustainable agriculture and forestry, conservation of land and water resources, restoration of urban ecosystems, and clean energy infrastructure. The two institutes also hope to "promote environmental stewardship in communities across the U.S." Wells Fargo has already shown its devotion to creating a greener planet, but this shows the company working even harder toward this goal.
If Wells Fargo is trying to make itself look good, it has been successful. Environmental issues are greatly important in the world today, and Wells Fargo's green initiatives, therefore, will give the company a positive public image. This is a great strategy for the company. Compared to most other financial companies, I believe that Wells Fargo is a company that knows how to keep the public loving it. A lot of stock activity is based on how the public views the stock in question, so this should also come as good news for investors in Wells Fargo stock.
Recently, Wells Fargo has named Kent Christian as the company's new president for its Financial Network (FiNet). FiNet is a Wells Fargo division that is rapidly expanding. The company describes it as one of its "fastest growing business channels." Since it is growing so quickly, this is an area that investors should keep a close eye on. As a whole, furthermore, Wells Fargo is expanding. The company has "more than tripled in size since relocating its headquarters to St. Louis five years ago." This expansion is a good sign of strength for the company and the stock.
The decision to hire Christian seems to be an attempt to make the company more attractive to a certain group of people. In particular, it will appeal to the "growing number of entrepreneurial minded, independent advisors." This could be a successful play for Wells Fargo if you look at Christian's credentials. For one thing, he has an informed perspective. When it comes to the financial issues that Wells Fargo is dealing with, Christian knows what he is talking about. In addition, he has those all-important leadership skills that seem to be lacking in many big companies at the moment. Wells Fargo believes that Christian's appointment, furthermore, demonstrates its focus on flexibility and the needs of independent business owners.
This is a great time for Wells Fargo to be focusing on independent brokerage, as the opportunity for growth in this area is at its greatest. With the strength and success of the company, it is clear how Wells Fargo is able to devote so many of its resources to the environment and other projects as well. If you are looking for a financial stock to add to your portfolio, this is one of the best options that are currently available to you in terms of long-term growth and return.
Competitor Citigroup (C) seems to know how to get involved with emerging markets and may be another good option for investors. The bank recently launched Renminbi Letters of Credits for Importers and Exporters. This will provide its Latin American clients with alternatives in terms of "trade financing, trade processing and risk mitigation." This goes a long way towards optimizing international trade between Latin-America and China, and it puts Citigroup in a strong position as a result. As far as bank stocks go, I feel that Citigroup is also one worth watching.
Bank of America (BAC), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo, and Citigroup have all been recently accused of improper practices. This has led the financial stocks to feel heavy pressure from a variety of sources. Bank of America is addressing the issue by selling $10.4 billion in residential mortgages to Newcastle Investment (NCT) and Nationstar Mortgage Holdings (NSM). This is an attempt to reduce the amount of home loans it administers in order to recoup its losses. As the company continues to scramble to find a solution, I anticipate decreases in Bank of America stock.
JPMorgan is in trouble at the moment as well. Apart from the aforementioned accusations of malpractice, the bank is also facing a $2 billion loss that could rise even higher. The cause of this loss was an unsuccessful hedging strategy. The company's regulators, as well as the company itself, are under scrutiny because of this situation. It seems to me that it has a lot of work to do if it wants to restore the faith of its investors. Many believe that the company has simply been too reckless following the financial crisis. Until it can start to show some real progress in rebuilding, I think these events will continue to have negative impacts on JPMorgan stock.
U.S. Bancorp (USB) knows that if it wants to stay ahead of the game, it has to match competitors like Wells Fargo in terms of mobile applications that allow its clients to engage in more advanced forms of mobile banking. This increases the interest people have in the bank and increases its clientele. It is also a way to improve merchant transactions, especially through U.S. Bancorp's MobileMerchant application. In turn, this will increase the company's revenue. As things stand, this is one avenue that banks can pursue that may make a huge difference for their futures. I think U.S. Bancorp is in a good position, and the stock should be doing well.
Wells Fargo is continuing to expand and improve its image. The appointment of a new FiNet president and its philanthropic endeavors continue to show strength for the company. Some of its competitors are doing well, but there are some facing substantial problems at the moment. The strength of Wells Fargo is even more impressive by comparison, and I believe it would be a great stock to invest in today.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.