- Wells Fargo (WFC) has dodged all the sludge so far, and they have made it clear that they are not in the turn-around business. I want to remind them; however that it was the ideas and leadership of a bunch of people from the old Norwest Bank out of Minnesota, who turned around the country-club banking types in California and enriched them in the process. John Stumpf, America needs your business acumen and banking genius to reach down into this mess and pick up something that you can correct. Many banks are selling for a fraction of their book values. What STAGE are you waiting for to get in the business of helping solve the banking crisis, and ultimately to enrich your company even more. You know its the truth. You just need to move. I think Washington Mutual is your best bet. They have a sales culture similar to yours. Unfortunately they have been selling the wrong products. If you give them the right products and risk management systems, they will rise.
- JP Morgan (JPM) and Mr. Diamond, you cut a heckuva deal on Bear Stearns. However, you need to get a little more skin in the game this time. National City Bank (NCC) has lost its rudder. They are a natural fit to your old Bank One territory. National City has always been a good meat and potatoes bank. They fell into the sewer when they tried to join the caviar crowd in the subprime world. National City would offer incredible consolidation possibilities because of its overlap in your Bank One territories.
- Wal-Mart (WMT), you have been trying to get into banking for years. In exchange for allowing you to get into the banking business, you should seriously look at Wachovia(WB). It's big. It's got the Sunbelt covered. It can provide you with the expertise to cross sell hundreds of investment products to your your millions of loyal customers both in the US and around the world. The government should change the rules to allow you to do it. You have capital coming out of your ears, and you have a bond with Mr. and Mrs. America that is among the strongest of any company on earth. You can help your fellow Americans the way you did in Hurricane Katrina and recently with Hurricane Ike.
- Warren Buffett, what are you waiting for. You are worth$70 billion, your company is worth over $100 billion(BRK/A). You also need legislation to allow you to get into the banking business. Your party is in power currently in Washington. It ought to take you about 36 hours to be in business. J Pierpont Morgan is said to have saved the US from financial calamity at least twice by loaning money to the country. Here's your opportunity to join Mr. Morgan as a man whose legacy will live through the ages. Buy somebody smart in the banking business like you did with MidAmerican Energy and turn them loose amalgamating the banking system like MidAmerican has done in energy and power. It may not be shooting fish in a barrel, which is your preferred method of operation, but America is calling on you like it once did on J. Pierpont Morgan. I know you own bank stocks, but it not the same as owning the companies outright. You know that.
- General Electric (GE): I know the Kidder Peabody purchase did not work, but the hubris on Wall Street is at an end for awhile and the complexity of your company would benefit from the expertise and business connections of an investment banking firm. JP Morgan is swinging in the breeze looking for a buyer. You have a AAA rating; you do business in every corner of the world; you are at the forefront of all the alternative energy solutions that have a chance of working. Your biggest problem is going to be helping your customers finance your technology. Morgan Stanley can do that. That is their business. They can also help guide you to important acquisitions in the areas of the world you want to be in and to the companies with bona fide products and capable management teams.
Ken Lewis, of Bank of America (BAC). I shudder every time there is a financial crisis because I know you will be there with your checkbook, even if nobody else is. Thank you for your bravery; thank you for your belief in America. I pray that your courage and strength of character will be blessed with strong profits for many years as a result of the moves you have made during this crisis.
I criticized your Lasalle Bank and Countrywide Financial purchases; I cringed with the Merrill Lynch purchase, but you appear to have paid pennies on the dollar in all cases and something seems to be speaking to you about the future that none of the rest of us are hearing. Call Warren Buffett. See if he'll fight this battle with you.
Moves like these will ultimately occur. I don't know if these people and companies will come forth, or if it will be other brave souls. This short list, however, if they put their shoulders to it, could solve our current problems.