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Wells Fargo Eyeing Insurance Pick-Ups

Source: Financial Planning

Posted on 04 Jun 2012 by Neilson

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Wells Fargo (WFC) continues to eye acquisitions of niche businesses.

Chief Executive John Stumpf said during an investor conference in New York Thursday that the bank is in the market to buy insurance companies. A key reason: Wells is one of the largest originators of mortgages and used-car loans and that those borrowers all need insurance, he said.

"I love the insurance distribution business," he said at the Sanford C. Bernstein conference.

Stumpf's comments were first reported by Reuters. Stumpf also reiterated his interest in growing the bank's retail brokerage and wealth management offerings, Reuters reported.

Wells Fargo and some of its competitors have been opting to buy niche businesses rather than whole banks. It has not made a bank acquisition in more than three years, instead striking deals for specialty lenders, insurance brokerages and asset-management firms. In recent months it has either announced or completed deals for Merlin Securities, a prime brokerage firm, an energy-lending unit from BNP Paribas and the investment boutique EverKey Global Partners.