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Rating Action:

Moody's: Wells Fargo's unsupported ratings upgraded; deposit and senior debt ratings affirmed

06 Dec 2010

New York, December 06, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service today announced that it has upgraded the unsupported ratings of Wells Fargo & Company and its subsidiaries. The upgrades reflect the company's continued improvement in its capital position -- driven by better than expected retained earnings - which increases its flexibility to absorb future credit costs.

The upgraded ratings include Wells Fargo Bank N.A.'s unsupported bank financial strength rating (BFSR), which was raised to C+ from C, as well as the ratings on the company's hybrid securities, which are linked to the unsupported BFSR. See below for a full list of rating changes.

The outlook on Wells Fargo's unsupported ratings is stable.

At the same time, Moody's affirmed its supported ratings on Wells Fargo's deposits, senior debt, and senior subordinated debt. These include Wells Fargo Bank N.A.'s deposit and senior debt rating of Aa2 and senior subordinated debt rating of Aa3. Also affirmed were the A1 senior debt and A2 senior subordinated debt ratings of the holding company, Wells Fargo & Company.

The supported ratings carry a negative outlook. The supported ratings still benefit from extraordinary ratings uplift based on Moody's current systemic support assumptions on Wells Fargo. The negative outlook on these supported ratings, however, reflects Moody's view that over time systemically important U.S. banks such as Wells Fargo are less likely to receive government support in the event of stress, in keeping with the tenets of the Dodd-Frank Act, which was signed into law this summer. Therefore, as the rules and regulations related to the Dodd-Frank Act are promulgated, the economic environment becomes less fragile, and the risks of an attempted unwind of systemically important institutions falls, Moody's is likely to reduce its systemic support assumptions to pre-crisis, or even lower, levels.

Wells Fargo's guaranteed debt obligations issued under the FDIC's TLGP program were unaffected by today's actions, and remain rated Aaa.

Upgrades:

..Issuer: Central Fidelity Capital Trust I

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2

..Issuer: CoreStates Capital I

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to A3 from Baa1

..Issuer: CoreStates Capital II

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to A3 from Baa1

..Issuer: CoreStates Capital III

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to A3 from Baa1

..Issuer: First Union Capital I

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2

..Issuer: First Union Capital II

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2

..Issuer: First Union Institutional Capital I

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2

..Issuer: First Union Institutional Capital II

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2

..Issuer: Wachovia Capital Trust I

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2

..Issuer: Wachovia Capital Trust II

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2

..Issuer: Wachovia Capital Trust III

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa3 from Ba1

..Issuer: Wachovia Capital Trust IV

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2

..Issuer: Wachovia Capital Trust IX

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2

..Issuer: Wachovia Capital Trust V

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2

..Issuer: Wachovia Capital Trust X

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2

..Issuer: Wachovia Corporation

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa3 from Ba1

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa3 from Ba1

..Issuer: Wachovia Preferred Funding Corp.

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa3 from Ba1

..Issuer: Wells Fargo & Company

....Multiple Seniority Shelf, Upgraded to (P)Baa2, (P)Baa3 from (P)Baa3, (P)Ba1

....Multiple Seniority Shelf, Upgraded to (P)Baa2, (P)Baa3 from (P)Baa3, (P)Ba1

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Bank Northwest, N.A.

.... Bank Financial Strength Rating, Upgraded to C+ from C

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

.... Bank Financial Strength Rating, Upgraded to C+ from C

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital II

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital IV

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital IX

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital VII

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital VIII

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital X

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital XI

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital XII

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital XIII

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa3 from Ba1

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital XIV

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital XIX

....Preferred Stock Shelf, Upgraded to (P)Baa1 from (P)Baa2

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital XV

....Preferred Stock Preferred Stock, Upgraded to Baa3 from Ba1

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital XVI

....Preferred Stock Shelf, Upgraded to (P)Baa1 from (P)Baa2

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital XVII

....Preferred Stock Shelf, Upgraded to (P)Baa1 from (P)Baa2

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital XVIII

....Preferred Stock Shelf, Upgraded to (P)Baa1 from (P)Baa2

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital XX

....Preferred Stock Shelf, Upgraded to (P)Baa1 from (P)Baa2

Outlook Actions:

..Issuer: Central Fidelity Capital Trust I

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: CoreStates Capital I

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: CoreStates Capital II

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: CoreStates Capital III

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: First Union Capital I

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: First Union Capital II

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: First Union Institutional Capital I

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: First Union Institutional Capital II

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wachovia Capital Trust I

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wachovia Capital Trust II

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wachovia Capital Trust III

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wachovia Capital Trust IV

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wachovia Capital Trust IX

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wachovia Capital Trust V

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wachovia Capital Trust X

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wachovia Corporation

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wachovia Preferred Funding Corp.

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wells Fargo & Company

....Outlook, Changed To Stable(m) From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Bank Northwest, N.A.

....Outlook, Changed To Stable(m) From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

....Outlook, Changed To Stable(m) From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital II

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital IV

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital IX

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital VII

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital VIII

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital X

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital XI

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital XII

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital XIII

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital XIV

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital XIX

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital XV

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital XVI

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital XVII

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital XVIII

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Wells Fargo Capital XX

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Rating Under Review

RATINGS RATIONALE

The upgrade of Wells Fargo's unsupported ratings reflects the company's improved capital position. As a result, Wells Fargo now has strong financial flexibility to deal with expected losses from its large residential mortgage exposure, which stood at 43% of total loans as of September 30, 2010. Additionally, the company now has an improved ability to manage an even more severe environment for mortgage losses.

"An important consideration in the upgrade was that its capital improvement enhances Wells Fargo's ability to respond to a possible spike in credit costs even if the U.S. economy contracted sharply", said Moody's Senior Vice President Sean Jones. Under this more stressful scenario, Moody's also assumed a spike in credit losses related to repurchasing residential mortgages sold to third parties.

In late 2008, in order to acquire Wachovia Corporation, Wells Fargo took on extensive leverage at a time when it was facing significant life-time losses against its large residential mortgage portfolio. Since then it has taken a high percentage of these expected losses while building its capital on the back of its relatively high earnings, and some sizable capital issuances.

Wells Fargo's improved capital position helps underpin its strong franchise centered on its number two position in a direct retail and commercial banking in the United States, supplemented by a large residential mortgage business. Since the Wachovia acquisition, this business mix has generated consistent high core profitability ratios and respectable net income profitability ratios even though loan-loss provisions have been at elevated levels.

"Wells Fargo's capital build since the Wachovia acquisition has been impressive and has provided an improved ability to handle a downside economic scenario" added Mr. Jones.

The stable outlook on the unsupported ratings reflects Wells Fargo's increased ability to absorb the possibility of a near term sharp contraction in the economy. Upward rating pressure would emerge if this ability was further enhanced by Wells Fargo building its capital. Moody's expects that Wells Fargo should deliver substantial earnings, but also expects that initiatives by management to reduce capital retention through stock repurchases or increased dividends may be forthcoming -- and could thus temper ratings improvements.

Moody's last rating action on Wells Fargo was on September 8, 2010, when it placed the company's unsupported ratings, including its BFSR and the ratings on its hybrid securities, on review for possible upgrade.

The principal methodologies used in this rating were "Bank Financial Strength Ratings: Global Methodology" published in February 2007, and "Incorporation of Joint-Default Analysis into Moody's Bank Ratings: A Refined Methodology" published in March 2007, and "Moody's Guidelines for Rating Bank Hybrid Securities and Subordinated Debt" published in November 2009.

Wells Fargo & Company is headquartered in San Francisco, California and its reported assets were $1.2 trillion as of September 30, 2010.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

Information sources used to prepare the credit rating are the following: parties involved in the ratings, parties not involved in the ratings, public information, confidential and proprietary Moody's Investors Service information.

Moody's Investors Service considers the quality of information available on the issuer or obligation satisfactory for the purposes of maintaining a credit rating.

Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a credit rating is of sufficient quality and from sources Moody's considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, Moody's is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process.

Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on Moodys.com for the last rating action and the rating history.

The date on which some Credit Ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's Investors Service's Credit Ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's Investors Service provides a date that it believes is the most reliable and accurate based on the information that is available to it. Please see the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

Please see the Credit Policy page on Moodys.com for the methodologies used in determining ratings, further information on the meaning of each rating category and the definition of default and recovery.

New York
Sean Jones
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

New York
Robert Young
MD - Financial Institutions
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's Investors Service
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's: Wells Fargo's unsupported ratings upgraded; deposit and senior debt ratings affirmed
No Related Data.
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