"They've never felt compelled to do anything because other banks were doing it, and that's how banks get in trouble, when they say, 'Everybody else is doing it, why shouldn't I?'"
--Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) CEO Warren Buffett in an interview with Fortune's Adam Lashinsky about Wells Fargo (WFC). As the largest shareholder of Wells Fargo through Berkshire, Buffett knows the San Francisco bank well. "Those guys have gone their own way," says Buffett, explaining that the bank's management has avoided risky investments like option ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages).
In his story "Riders on the Storm," Lashinsky explores how Wells Fargo's takeover of Wachovia made it a national force--but also burdened it with toxic assets. The piece appears in this year's Fortune 500 issue, online now and on newsstands next week. --Jessica Shambora
Amidst the news that Morgan Stanley (MS) will cut 10% of its institutional securities employees, you might have missed this: Cece Sutton, Wachovia's (WB) former head of retail and small business banking and No. 33 on Most Powerful Women list this year, is moving to Morgan to be president of its new retail bank.
Pattie wrote about Sutton in September, just as Citigroup (C) was poised to acquire Wachovia--before Wells Fargo MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Nov 13, 2008 5:45 PM ET
It's hard to be hopeful. Turmoil in the financial markets is spreading geographically and psychologically. The Dow closed down 508 points today. At last week's Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, we heard plenty about stress and sleep deprivation -- starting with Warren Buffett's comments on a clearly exhausted Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. Sallie Krawcheck, who is leaving her high-level post at Citigroup (C), and Barclays Capital (BCS) vice chairman Barbara Byrne MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Oct 7, 2008 7:22 PM ET
Featuring Warren Buffett and beyond, there's a wealth, so to speak, of video from last week's Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. Especially now, with the markets in turmoil, these video segments are worth checking out. There's Buffett on the $700 billion bailout. Buffett on why he expects to make a hefty profit on his recent $3 billion investment in General Electric (GE), and Buffett on gender equality (wise and amusing MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 6, 2008 2:11 PM ET
What a wrapup this morning at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. I interviewed Melinda Gates -- with Warren Buffett watching from the front row. Buffett was flanked by his daughter, Susie, and his daughter-in-law, Jennifer, both of whom are powerful philanthropists in their own right.
It was fascinating to have Melinda Gates talk about her heady missions -- find an AIDS vaccine, eradicate malaria, reform U.S. education, bring a Green Revolution to Africa MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 3, 2008 5:25 PM ET
No sooner did we unveil Fortune's 2008 Most Powerful Women in Business rankings than the ground shifted beneath two women on the list. Terri Dial, No. 47, is CEO of the U.S. consumer bank at Citigroup (C). With Citi's deal to buy Wachovia, annnounced this morning, she will be in charge of the largest retail banking system in the U.S., with 4,300 branches and a 9.8% market share of deposits.
It's MOREPatricia Sellers - Sep 29, 2008 3:26 PM ET
It feels like an earthquake on Wall Street, and Morgan Stanley's (MS) CEO is trying to stay standing. On Monday a week ago, Mack told me, "I'm not thinking about selling the firm. I'm thinking about investing in the firm in a big way." Morgan shares have fallen 58% since, and they're down 18% just today.
Wachovia (WB) CEO Bob Steel phoned Mack yesterday to talk about a possible merger, according MOREPatricia Sellers - Sep 18, 2008 3:04 PM ET
Last week on Postcards, I noted skepticism about the new co-CEO set-up at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia -- and talked about how rare power-sharing at the top of major companies tends to be. Motorola (MOT) joined the club Monday when Qualcomm's (QCOM) Sanjay Jha agreed to join as co-chief and head of the company's troubled mobile-devices division. As my Fortune colleague Jon Fortt notes in a story, Jha's appointment will pay MOREPatricia Sellers - Aug 5, 2008 3:38 PM ET
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