Wells Fargo repeated its bailout exit strategy on Tuesday, but appeared weak next to competitors that have already repaid taxpayer funds, or are moving forward with more definite plans to do so.
Its position comes at a delicate time, when rumors about the health of financial firms are circulating in the market. Traders have become more aggressive with bearish bets against Wells shares in particular in recent days.
Pressure was building on Wells, due to a report that competitor Bank of America (BAC Quote) is moving forward with plans to pay back bailout funds. Wells CEO John Stumpf told Bloomberg late in the day that the firm would like to pay back $25 billion in funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program in the near future, but does not plan any capital raises to do so.
“We intend to pay back the government’s investment in Wells Fargo on behalf of U.S. taxpayers in a shareholder-friendly way,” spokeswoman Richele Messick told TheStreet.com in an email message earlier in the day. “We will work closely with our regulators to determine the appropriate time to repay the funds while maintaining strong capital levels.”