Still in the Mix
There is at least one constant in the rapidly changing California banking scene, and his name is Robert Horsman.
Horsman's San Diego National Bank was shut down last month by regulators, another casualty of bad investments and troubled loans. But the former president and chief executive will remain a fixture in the community, as the San Diego regional chairman for U.S. Bancorp's U.S. Bank, which took over the company Oct. 30.
Sean Foley, U.S. Bank's regional chairman for Southern California, said he was not about to lose Horsman, whose deep ties to local groups including the opera, the zoo, the chamber of commerce and a variety of charities and foundations have made him an institution in himself.
In Horsman, "you have someone who gets banking, who has been in San Diego almost his entire career and who has inserted himself into the community like no other banker," Foley said.
As for the idea of holding on to management from an acquired bank, Foley said it is "not completely unusual for us to do that. That's how I ended up with U.S. Bank, too."
Buffett's Bank Buffet
Warren Buffett has been tinkering with his bank holdings again.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. disclosed in a regulatory filing this week that during the third quarter it raised its stake in Wells Fargo & Co. 3.5%, to 313.2 million shares, and slightly boosted its holdings in U.S. Bancorp, to 69.3 million shares. The billionaire investor sold about 3% of his holdings in SunTrust Banks Inc. and now has 3.1 million shares. His stakes in Bank of America Corp. and M&T Bank Corp. were unchanged.
Buffett has been an investor in Wells, his biggest bank stock position, since 1991. U.S. Bancorp is his second-biggest bank stock position.
In a May interview on CNBC, the Oracle of Omaha detailed why he was bullish on the two companies. U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo "have terrific earning power, and earning power is enormously important in looking at what happens to a business in the future," he said.
Social Media Cash
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is asking Facebook friends to help it give away $5 million.
Users of the popular social networking site can vote on which of 500,000 nonprofits should get grants of $25,000 to $1 million from the banking giant.
The top vote-getter will get $1 million. Five runners-up will get $100,000 each, and 100 finalists will receive $25,000. An advisory board is to distribute another $1 million.
"The grassroots nature of Facebook will allow us to hear directly which local charities matter most to our communities, hopefully creating an even bigger impact," Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.