Wells Fargo looks to reward investors with more cash

Wells Fargo CEO to CNBC: We are rebuilding trust

Wells Fargo shareholders still upset over the bank's misconduct can take solace that they'll be getting rewarded for not bailing out.

Bank CEO Tim Sloan told CNBC that his goal is to reduce the company's capital ratio so it can return more cash to investors.

"Over time, we want to return more of our excess capital to our shareholders," Sloan said Friday in a CNBC interview.

The bank is coming off a year in which it returned $12.5 billion to shareholders through repurchases and dividends. That was just a slight decline from the $12.6 billion in 2015 but pretty consistent with recent years.

Though he didn't mention specific cash levels or a time frame, Sloan was clear that the bank wants to free up more cash.

Wells Fargo currently operates with a 10.7 percent capital ratio, which measures the amount of core equity capital against risk-weighted assets. By regulation, the bank is required to keep a 9 percent ratio of so-called Tier 1 capital.

If Sloan has his way, the actual level will drift down closer to 10 percent.

"Would we like to take some of our excess capital and return it to our shareholders? Of course we would," he said. "And that's what they'd like us to do."

The sentiment comes as Wells Fargo is looking to repair relations with its customer and investor bases. Wells Fargo last year had to pay a $190 million fine related to employees creating accounts for customers without their permission — part of a practice known as cross-selling.

Shares took a hit following the disclosure but have been on the rise lately. The company is the third-best performing bank on the this year, with a rise of about 7.4 percent.