John Stumpf made the case Wednesday that the peak of Wells Fargo and Co.'s credit troubles have nearly passed, leaving it with the scale and balance sheet necessary to outpace its rivals in an improving economy.

"In my 28 years at Wells Fargo, I believe 2009 was the best year we ever had in terms of positioning us for future growth," the chairman and CEO said on the San Francisco bank's fourth quarter earnings call.

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