How is Wells Fargo & Co.'s $15 billion deal for Wachovia Corp. three years ago working out for the San Francisco company?

Really, really well, Wells Fargo Chief Financial Officer Timothy Sloan said Thursday.

"We don't want to declare victory too early but it's gone better than we thought," Sloan said during a presentation at a Credit Suisse-sponsored banking conference in Miami. "It's been a three-year process and cost us billions of dollars, but we think that we've done it right."

The $1.3 trillion-asset company last October converted the last of more than 3,000 Wachovia branches, switching out the Wachovia sign over its former flagship branch in Charlotte, N.C.

Sloan ticked off a handful of reasons why the deal is shaping up to be a win: It "allowed us to diversify our business model," he said, with Wells Fargo selling more products in more places. "It's also allowed us to have a pretty strong balance sheet, both from liquidity and a capital standpoint … because we've been earning it."

That earnings power should enable Wells Fargo to bankroll more acquisitions in "anything that's going to bring more customers to Wells Fargo," Sloan said.

It has been busy bulking up on business lines, closing the purchase on Feb. 1 of London asset-based lender Burdale Financial Holdings Ltd. from the Bank of Ireland. It agreed to buy in December Everkey Global Partners, an investment banking boutique that sells investment strategies to institutional investors.

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