Wall Street investors might be freaking out about higher interest rates, but not John Stumpf. The Wells Fargo CEO can’t wait for the Federal Reserve to get going with the cycle of rate hikes. “If [the Fed] could turn the clock back, they probably wish they could have done it in June, they probably wish they could have done it in September, [and now] they just want to get on with it,” he told Fortune’s Susie Gharib.
Fed chair Janet Yellen told lawmakers this week that while no decision has been made regarding a rate increase, it’s a “live possibility” at the central bank’s December meeting.
Stumpf says higher interest rates will mean more profits–not just for Wells Fargo, but “for the smallest of community banks to the largest of Wall Street banks.” As the nation’s largest mortgage lender, he also expects homebuyers will still rely on Wells Fargo for mortgages, and he doubts consumers will withdraw bank deposits as rates notch up. As for the financial health of consumers, Stumpf says they are paying down debt, saving more of their paychecks, and their balance sheets are in the “best shape.”
For a man who presides over the giant bank with nearly $90 billion dollars in revenue, Stumpf is surprisingly folksy and candid. He grew up on his family’s Minnesota dairy farm as one of 11 kids, and credits his parents for teaching him about leadership: “We believed in team ball. We were very poor, in very difficult times. We didn’t complain. We pulled together as a team.”