Wells Fargo CEO: Mass. Lawsuit Not the Answer
Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf told CNBC Thursday he is "disappointed" his bank is among those being sued by Massachusetts over alleged deceptive foreclosure practices.
"I’ve not seen the complaint but I’m disappointed," he said after a ceremony in Charlotte, N.C., officially retiring the Wachovia bank name.
"We’ve worked hard to come to an agreement that I think would be good for the country, and good for housing. I think we can do that better through working together instead of settling our differences in court. But it is what it is," he said.
Besides Wells , the lawsuit names Bank of America , JPMorgan Chase , Citigroupand Ally Financial .
The complaint also names Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc. and its parent company as defendants.
The lawsuit is seeking redress for what Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley calls "unlawful and deceptive" conduct in the foreclosure process, including unlawful foreclosures, false documentation, robo-signing, and deceptive practices related to loan modifications.
Stumpf told CNBC Wells had $13.5 billion in loan growth in the third quarter, "the most growth we've seen since the merger with Wachovia. We don’t give guidance but we have boots on the street. We’re hungry to make loans. We have lots of liquidity and we’re finding opportunities."
He also said the bank will continue to buy some of the assets being sold by European banks as they try to add capital. But Wells will be "very selective," he added.
As with the Wachovia merger during the height of the U.S. financial crisis, "we want value. We want things that actually make sense for us," Stumpf said. "We’re not looking to trade their problems for our problems."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.