Banks are generally not thought of as growth stocks, but there are some that have lots of potential to do just that. In this Fool Live video clip, recorded on April 20, Fool.com contributor Matt Frankel, CFP, explains why he thinks Goldman Sachs (GS 0.74%) could produce 10X returns in the years to come, while fellow contributor Jason Hall sees the most exciting growth potential in Wells Fargo (WFC 1.92%) instead.
Anand Chokkavelu: In the growth stock area, we like to ask the question, which one of these stocks is most likely to 10X? I don't think that's a fair question for these.
Jason Hall: Yeah, none of us are going to live long enough to see that.
Chokkavelu: Right. So for this one, maybe let's just talk about the largest growth opportunity that we see for any of them. Whether it's just the opportunity there, whether they seize it or not?
Matt Frankel: I'd actually say, I'd go so far as to say as Goldman has a reasonable chance to 10X in my lifetime.
Hall: Yeah, that's fair.
Frankel: Goldman is the smallest by market cap of these five, by the way, they are just over $100 million or $100 billion rather. Imagine getting in to Goldman at a $100 million valuation.
Chokkavelu: I'd just hit the buy button and clarify.
Frankel: They're a little over $100 billion, I could see them becoming a trillion-dollar company sometime within the next few decades, especially if their consumer banking division really picks up steam. The reason I say that, if they can scale their consumer banking division to anything close to where say, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) or JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) is, which will take time. They don't have the legacy costs involved with these things, like a branch network. Goldman Sachs doesn't have branches, they don't have any plans for that. They can really build that out in a very, very profitable manner. If they're successful in doing that and continue their dominance in investment banking, if you will. I could definitely see them getting close to 10X returns within a couple of decades.
Hall: I'm going to hit on that just briefly too, because I think the key thing right there is this isn't building out Bank of America. I don't want to say it's easier or easy, but there is a more direct path to consumer acquisition than there used to be. The bottom line is none of these banks can grow through acquisition anymore, that's not going to pass regulatory approval. For the most part, it's going to be really hard. In other words, Goldman couldn't go buy a Citigroup. I just don't think that any regulator is going to improve them bolting on and becoming a true universal bank. I just don't think that's going to happen. I'm going to go with Wells. The reason I'm going to go with Wells is because this is the one that's been held back the most. It literally has been barred from growing its assets by regulators. Because again, going back to the fake accounts scandal, I think that that creates an enormous opportunity. Matt, we went through a 5-6 year period where there wasn't a better time to be a bank in terms of being able to grow. We thought about the health of the economy, interest rates had recovered. This was the bank that couldn't grow, they literally are not allowed to grow. I think looking forward the next decade for lending is going to be incredible. You think about the pent-up demand for home buyers. Even if the company continues to prioritize it's commercial business and doesn't, which they haven't put anything into that. That's why I keep calling them a pure-play on commercial lending because they're not prioritizing that investment banking. I think there's a simpler path for this business to grow that's already aligned with what they're really well at versus for Goldman, they have to get really good at something that they haven't proven that they can do really, really well in scale. That's why I say Wells.