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Amidst the Controversy, Is Now the Time to Buy Wells Fargo & Co?

By Motley Fool Staff – Sep 21, 2016 at 3:30PM

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As shares of the bank tumble, long-term investors who can stomach the controversy may see an opportunity to buy in at a bargain.

Wells Fargo (WFC -1.98%) stock has declined over 15% year-to-date. Bearish momentum has been building in the past month as the company struggles with the outrage surrounding millions of unauthorized customers accounts opened by Wells Fargo employees to boost financial results and meet internal goals. And yesterday, CEO John Stumpf found himself in the hot seat, answering (and dodging) many questions during a Senate hearing regarding the controversy.

In the video below, senior banking analyst John Maxfield joins CNBC to discuss the potential silver lining for shareholders and investors in this unsettling turn of events.

A full transcript follows the video.

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This segment originally aired on Sept. 20, 2016.

John Maxfield: From the customer's perspective, I mean this is just patently deplorable conduct right? I'm not talking about just the nature of what happened here: opening up accounts for potentially millions of customers across all the branches in the United States. There is no excuse for that, both the nature of it and the extent of it.

However, if you think about it from the investor's perspective, this is when you buy into great companies. If you look back at when Warren Buffett invested in Wells Fargo, that wasn't great times. I mean one of his famous sayings is "You pay a high price for a cheery consensus." He bought into Wells Fargo at the beginning of the 1990's when California was going through a serious commercial real estate crisis. And it was the same thing with how he bought into American Express.

So the point being -- look, there is no excuse for the conduct that went on at Wells Fargo, and John Stumpf, he was pretty uncomfortable today testifying before the Senate and for good reason, because you just can't excuse this. But for investors, this is the opportunity that you look for.

John Maxfield owns shares of Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool has the following options: short October 2016 $50 calls on Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool recommends American Express. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Stocks Mentioned

Wells Fargo & Stock Quote
Wells Fargo &
WFC
$45.94 (-1.98%) $0.93

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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