Warren Buffett and his company Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A -0.53%) (BRK.B -0.73%) are well known for their stock-picking abilities that have been proven over many decades. For this prowess, along with Berkshire's success in the other businesses the conglomerate operates in, the stock has consistently been a winner.

Between 1965 and 2020, Berkshire's stock has generated compounded annual gains of 20%, compared to the S&P 500's compounded annual gain of 10.2%, including dividends, over the same timeframe. It's for this very reason that investors watch Buffett and Berkshire's stock picks so closely. Here are three Buffett stocks I like heading into 2022. 

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett speaks to onlookers at a company event in Omaha

Image source: The Motley Fool.

1. Bank of America

America's second-largest bank by assets, Bank of America (BAC -1.60%), also happens to be the second-largest position in Buffett and Berkshire's equities portfolio. Buffett first got in on Bank of America coming out of the Great Recession and currently owns more than 1 billion shares worth nearly $45.8 billion. Early in the pandemic in the middle of 2020, Buffett took advantage of the beaten-down bank sector to plow another $2 billion into Bank of America and now owns nearly 12% of the financial institution's outstanding shares.

Shares of Bank of America have climbed more than 47% this year and are up more than double from pandemic lows. While the valuation has gotten high, I like Bank of America because it is well-positioned to deal with higher inflation, higher interest rates, and more difficult market conditions that could be seen next year. Higher interest rates benefit Bank of America tremendously because the yields on many of the loans at the bank will increase along with the rate hikes. The consumer is currently in great shape. Since banking is linked to the overall economy and gross domestic product in the U.S. is expected to grow about 4% next year, I think the bank is going to have a good year.

2. American Express

Berkshire owns more than 151 million shares of the credit card company American Express (AXP -0.38%) for a total value of roughly $24.7 billion, making it the third-largest holding in Berkshire's portfolio. American Express has also had a nice year with the stock price up more than 38%.

There are two main reasons I like American Express heading into 2022. For one, because the consumer has been so healthy, Americans have been paying off their credit card bills and haven't had as much need to take on debt. As money and benefits from previous stimulus bills run down, that won't always be the case. At the beginning of December, The Wall Street Journal reported that credit card applications had recently hit a pandemic high.

American Express is also big in the travel, airlines, and lodging businesses, so the more the world continues to recover from the pandemic and COVID-19, the more its business will benefit. Some of those travel-related sectors still aren't fully back yet, especially when you think about international travel.

3. U.S. Bancorp

Buffett and Berkshire own more than 144 million shares valued at nearly $8.3 billion of the large regional bank U.S. Bancorp (USB -1.31%). The bank is a high-performing commercial bank. It also runs a unique payments business that includes retail credit, debit, prepaid cards, global merchant acquiring, and corporate payment solutions in sectors such as aviation, fleet, transportation, and travel.

Because the payments business operates in these sectors, the segment could still recover further in 2022 as the world rebounds from COVID-19. Additionally, management is very focused on further integrating the payments and commercial banking businesses because 72% of the bank's business banking customers still don't have a payments product, and half of U.S. Bancorp's payments customers don't have a banking product.

There's a lot of opportunity for cross-selling. U.S. Bancorp also recently announced its intention to acquire the U.S. banking division of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. This deal will give U.S. Bancorp an additional 190,000 business banking customers and more scale in California, both things that are in line with U.S. Bancorp's current strategy.