Wells Fargo & Co. Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf talked about the role of financial services in the real economy and Warren Buffett’s diet at a National Press Club luncheon on September 17, 2014. Wells Fargo is the U.S. top home lender and also world’s largest bank by market value. Although BBG and Eikon do not have the full transcript we were able to find the full one, below are excerpts from Stumpf on Buffett’s dieting
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John Stumpf Talks About Warren Buffett’s Diet At National Press Club
John Stumpf Talks About Warren Buffett’s Diet At National Press Club? – Transcript
And finally, we have stakeholders. And as the introduction, you heard that, you heard about our largest owner, Warren Buffett, who owns almost– over 9 percent of our company, it’s his single largest investment. If you look at [00:21:59] institutions, we’re not even in the top 20 in the world. I think we’re number 21 or 22. We’re not the largest in the U.S., although we have more locations here, we have more people here than any other bank. But we’re not the largest in asset size. But if you take our market capitalization, number of shares times our stock price, we are far and wide the most valuable bank in the world. So if you hire great people, treat them a family, take care of customers– most of our customers have been with us for decades and we do lots of stuff with them, they’re our friends. If you give back and invest in your communities, your stockholder can get rewarded, and will get rewarded. And by the way, we’ve been one of the largest taxpayers in the U.S. for years. In fact, last year I think our cash tax rate was 32 percent.
Then we started to hear about negative amortizing loans. And what those are is you buy a house and let’s say you borrow $500,000 and the interest rate is 8 percent so you owe $40,000 a year interest, which is about 3,500 bucks a month. but the bank says to you, “No, no, only pay us a thousand dollars a month. We’ll take the other 2,500, we’ll add it to your principal.” Called negative am. So you owe more later than what you started with. And we said, “Really? How is this customer friendly? How can this help customers succeed financially?” which is our– you know, that’s what we do every morning. In fact, I tell our people. When you get up in the morning and go to work, your most important job is not to make money. Warren Buffett knows that, all of our investors know it. The most important thing is to serve customers. The result is you’ll make money. Never put the stagecoach in front of the horses.
So I said, “Warren Buffett, seriously, this is not good.” I said, “Is health a strength in your family? What’s your genealogy like?” He said, “Well, really,” he said, his father I think passed away early, I can’t remember exactly what the time was. But we started talking about colon issues and colon cancer. And he said– I said, “Warren, that’s really important. You got to get a colonoscopy. That’s an absolute requirement.” He said, “Well, I did. A few years ago, ten years ago.” He said, “And they actually took a foot out.” He said, “I’m great now,” but he said, “I went into the hospital with a colon, I came out with a semicolon.” And he laughed at that, so Warren had me.
Now, how much of this is all true, but he had me going the whole time. But here’s about Warren. I remember another story, we were at an event last fall where we had 500 of our bankers together and he was kind enough to come, which is a rare occasion. And we were sitting next to one another on the stage. We were doing an hour, hour and a half, side by side– if you’re old enough to remember Huntley Brinkley, we were kind of doing that side by side thing. And one of our team members, these are all of our team members, somebody from the audience says to him, “Warren Buffett, how do you decide what companies to invest in?” Because Warren is very disciplined about– he’s got an in basket that says yes, one says no and one says too difficult. So he says you only do what you know.
And without missing a beat, Warren Buffett — I’m sitting right next to him– and Warren says, “I like to invest in companies that are so simple to run even an idiot can do it because sooner or later one will.” (Laughter) But Warren Buffett, what’s so special about Warren, he takes the long view. And he understands culture, he understands risk, he understands the human nature. And we are so fortunate to have him as our largest investor and for us to be one of his largest holdings, from the best investor the world’s ever known. And for those who don’t know him, the best person the world’s ever known. So I can’t be objective, he’s that good a person.