How To Rate Your Favorite Uranium Company

Many investors invested in the Great Uranium Bull Market with little rationale behind their speculation. Through the robust rallies of the past two years, it was easy to play the momentum of a newsletter writer’s recommendation. Quite a few did so, often employing the ‘greater fool strategy’ and hoping the last and dumbest investor would provide an exit strategy for the early and nimble speculator.

We have created a 7-point ratings system to help you in determining which c…
uranium, nuclear power, electricity, utilities, stocks, mining, exploration, Canada, Wyoming, energy
Many investors invested in the Great Uranium Bull Market with little rationale behind their speculation. Through the robust rallies of the past two years, it was easy to play the momentum of a newsletter writer’s recommendation. Quite a few did so, often employing the ‘greater fool strategy’ and hoping the last and dumbest investor would provide an exit strategy for the early and nimble speculator.

We have created a 7-point ratings system to help you in determining which companies might be best suited for your degree of investment risk. It’s a guideline you can use, and we’ve not assigned a weighting to each item. Nor have we named any uranium companies. This is a do-it-yourself ratings system, which requires but two actions on your part: (a) be persistent in your data-gathering from each company by asking the questions we posed below, and (b) be honest in your assessment when you review this data.

Some of the more speculative, pure exploration plays might abandon their properties by the end of the year or in 2007. Those would include under-capitalized companies with the more speculative properties and who also fare poorly on our ratings system. This ratings checklist would also apply to the pure specs. We began with our article, “How to Choose a Uranium Stock,” featuring Sprott Asset Management Market Strategist Kevin Bambrough and Senior Portfolio Manager Jean Francois Tardif, as a starting point to create a more advanced ratings system for you.

Uranium producers are likely to make a strong comeback as they cross over or switch to more lucrative long-term contracts. But, it could be the smaller, but more solid, uranium development companies which could emerge as the preferred investment vehicles, when the bull resumes the next leg of its long run. Now that we have had a shakeout, with possibly another one on the horizon, it is wise to properly evaluate the important merits of the more serious uranium development companies.

Below are some of the key criteria we are using in our ratings system to objectively evaluate uranium companies covered in our new book, “Investing in the Great Uranium Bull Market: A Practical Investor’s Guide to Uranium Stocks.” Please determine if your favorite exploration and/or development company meets these standards. This is one way of obtaining sufficient data to help you form a snapshot of a company’s prospects.

1.Cash Position. The more cash a company has in its treasury, the longer it can survive. Find out if your favorite company has a minimum of $20 million in cash. More than $30 million gives a company some breathing room. Exploration and development are very expensive propositions. Raising money in a down market is very tough.

2.National Instrument 43-101. This independent geological assessment determines how many pounds of uranium a company’s property hosts. While there are flaws with this system, it can be a workable yardstick. Find out if your favorite company has a minimum of 20 million pounds of a NI 43-101-compliant uranium resource. One should consider historical resources inadequate for evaluation purposes. They may also be misleading and open to hyperbole.

3.Pedigree of Known Deposits. Many of the uranium development companies hold properties, which were once held by the minerals or uranium divisions of major oil companies. Some were continuously held, during the 20-year bear market in uranium by one company or another, and then abandoned during the nadir of the drought. Find out if your favorite uranium company’s primary properties were continuously held until 2000 or a bit longer, but before the spot uranium market reversed. The earlier a company acquired its properties, the greater the probability that company got the best ones. Those who came into the game late often got the crumbs.

4.Drill Databases. Those previous land tenants, the major oil companies, who spent tens of millions of dollars drilling the uranium properties, accumulated drill databases. Some companies got the property, but not the drill databases. Some companies bought the drill database as part of their property acquisition. Find out if the company’s primary properties also have the drill database accompanying it. You may be surprised at what you find.

5.Pedigree of Uranium District. There are several premier uranium districts, which have a history of large-scale uranium production: Athabasca, Australia’s Northern Territories or South Australia, Grant’s New Mexico, Wyoming, Kazakhstan, Niger, and Namibia. Find out if your favorite company has holdings in these districts. Some companies have holdings in multiple uranium districts, which may also become recognized as a wise decision by their management.

6.Management’s Technical Experience. There are three categories of uranium experience: exploration geologist, project geologist and mine operations. Find out how much experience your company’s geological team has in each of those three categories. Those with less than 100 man-years of uranium experience behind them may be lacking. Those companies which have strength in all three categories could become the next uranium producers.

7.Political or Environmental Risk of Primary Assets. Finally, you should assess the risk of the company’s primary assets with regards to its location. Primary uranium assets in North America or Australia’s Northern Territories hold the lowest risk. Those companies exploring or developing in Niger, Namibia or Brazil have slightly higher political risk. Companies with prospects in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kazakhstan or Mongolia hold more risk than some investors may wish to tolerate. Areas which forbid mining such as Queensland, Western Australia or the U.S. state of Virginia carry an enormous degree of risk and a Kierkegaardian leap of faith.

Now you can rate your favorite uranium company and use this ratings system to help you sift through the more than 300 potential stocks in which you might have considered investing.

Cash Advance Company – How To Choose A Cash Advance Lender

Cash advance companies differ in how soon they deliver money, structure their fees, and process applications. To find a payday loan that best fits your needs, decide what you most want – speedy money, low fees, or an easy application process. Then do a quick scan of lenders to find the best match. In just a few minutes, you can find the perfect cash advance company for you.

Decide What Service You Most Want

When you start looking for a lender, decide what you most want …
cash advance loan, payday loan
Cash advance companies differ in how soon they deliver money, structure their fees, and process applications. To find a payday loan that best fits your needs, decide what you most want – speedy money, low fees, or an easy application process. Then do a quick scan of lenders to find the best match. In just a few minutes, you can find the perfect cash advance company for you.

Decide What Service You Most Want

When you start looking for a lender, decide what you most want out of a payday lender. If you are looking for speedy cash in a matter of hours, expect to pay higher finance fees. However, if you are willing to wait a little longer or fax in some documentation, you can find lower fees for larger amounts.

By prioritizing your needs, you can focus your search on payday loan lenders that are most relevant. In a few minutes, you can search for the company with the best delivery time, rates, or application process.

The Differences In Lenders

Online payday loan applications make for speedy loans, often processed in a matter of minutes. In general you will get your cash the next business day, but there are companies who process funds in less than an hour. These companies usually have higher fees since they have staff 24 hours a day.

For the easy application process, go with a faxless program. That way you won’t have to search for your pay stub or bank records. With databases, lenders are able to verify your application without paperwork.

The lowest rates are usually found with lenders that require additional documentation. By having you fax in copies of your financial information, they reduce the risk of fraud and pass the savings onto you.

Where To Search For Payday Loan Lenders

With the internet, you can search for payday loan lenders from across the country. With so many choices, you can be sure to find the right company no matter where you live.

Start with recommended lenders and look at their website for information on their loan program. Also feel free to email the company if you need more details to make a decision.

What Exactly Does a Bill Consolidation Company Do

The burden of debt is becoming more and more common in the United States than ever before, and many people simply can’t find a way out. Thankfully, bill consolidation is a solution that is available from many companies.
bill consolidation company, bill consolidation
The burden of debt is becoming more and more common in the United States than ever before, and many people simply can’t find a way out. The reason for this is that credit cards provide a stream of money that is so convenient, yet extremely damaging at the same time if used improperly. Thankfully, bill consolidation is a solution that is available from many companies, and is becoming popular with people trying to conquer their financial troubles.

Some people would say we simply have to get rid of credit cards, as they are obviously the biggest contributors to the epidemic of being in debt… but the truth is, some people simply can’t pay all of their expenses with cold, hard cash. But others may spend excessively on things they don’t need, while putting themselves further and further into debt. Either way, with the high costs of mortgages, car payments, student loans, and other costs, credit cards are here to stay.

Eventually, your debts may add up to catastrophic amounts until you simply can’t make the minimum payments anymore. It can become difficult to even remember when each payment is due. Also add into the equation the fact that your interest rates could also be drastically increasing.

Bill consolidation provides a very convenient solution to this financial nightmare. With a bill consolidation company that effectively does its job, you’ll no longer have to worry about multiple payments at all. They’ll combine everything into one convenient payment, and even deal with all of the annoying creditor calls!

By negotiating with your creditors, they’ll also drastically lower your interest rates and monthly payments. They will be your representative and sit down with the respective lenders in order to get the lowest rates possible. The goal is to get you entirely financially free in the shortest amount of time possible.

Also provided by the bill consolidation company is a manageable payment plan. It will lay out exactly how much you need to pay per month, and create a simple budget that you can apply to your daily expenditures. You will then be on your way to conquering your debt and achieving financial freedom.

Application Of Business Credit Card In Corporate Company

Between so much of varieties of credit cards, one of the most underestimated when accepting credit card for business is the value of the credit card. Many people do not choose to request a credit card of businesses because except having a definite target for the owners of businesses or the businesses director it seems to be complicated to employ. Although a credit card of businesses has more conditions and has more raised interests compared with other types of credit cards th…
accepting credit card for business,business card credit deal
Between so much of varieties of credit cards, one of the most underestimated when accepting credit card for business is the value of the credit card. Many people do not choose to request a credit card of businesses because except having a definite target for the owners of businesses or the businesses director it seems to be complicated to employ. Although a credit card of businesses has more conditions and has more raised interests compared with other types of credit cards there is, contrary to the common design, it can very useful if be used correctly.

What is the big deal of business credit card?
Basically, business credit card is for the business people’s consumption. Compared to the regular credit card setup, a business credit card has a high limit plus low interest rates. Depending on the manner of choosing, a business credit card may also bring a lot of automatic benefits. There are come bank which also offer free business credit cards for the eligible owners.

Since it is targeted towards businessmen or those people who are heading towards building a business, a business credit card can definitely benefit these small businesses. A business credit card helps the budding business by extending payments while improving the cash flow. Aside from bearing the image of a dependable credit card, business credit card boasts of having detailed reports and giving quality customer service as its major trademarks.

Aside from having limits and low interest rates, a business credit card provides many alternatives and numerous credit options for small businesses. A business credit card also caters to large corporations that are crafted to aid those people who are starting with their own business to grow while closely monitoring the baseline of credit.

Except having limits and low interest rate of interest, a credit card of businesses provides many solutions of replacement and many options of credit for small companies. A credit card of businesses also supplies at the large companies, which are brought to help these people who are starting with their own businesses to develop all in narrowly supervising the base line of the credit.

It really pays to go to the bank when one applies for a credit card to get the chance to answer all immediate inquiries. But since business credit card is for business people who are always on the go, many business credit card issuers offers online applications for business credit cards. When one applies for a business credit card, there is no need to visit the bank. There is also no need to wait in the queue just to talk to a bank representative. When you apply business credit card online, all you have to do is to select the business credit card option that would perfectly suit your small business or corporate credit requirements right from the comforts of your home or office.

Aside from offering safe, secured, and simple processes that are designed help you take care of your starting business, most business credit cards online offer accessible features for the convenience of the business credit card holder like the online payment and reporting. Customized company logos and access to instant cash are also available on line. Other business credit card online offers detailed reporting features for easy monitoring and access.

Although the value majority of offer of transmitters of credit card of businesses of large occupies itself, it is very important to seek initially what makes your needs for businesses. If your credit card of businesses is meant to invest in the inventory or right for the book of pay, it is significant to seek a flexible credit card of businesses, which can handle anything almost. If you choose outward journey directly at the bank or to request a credit card of businesses on line, a certain number of suppliers of credit card of businesses of minister are there to help you to find the product right of credit card so easy and convenient like possible.

The Best Home Owner Insurance Company In Texas

Obviously, the only way to find the best home owner insurance company in Texas is to find the company that will insure everything you need insured, and insure it at a price you can afford. Sounds pretty simple, right?

However, many people mistakenly purchase a policy from a home owner insurance company in Texas without first knowing the condition of their homes. They make lists of all their possessions, gather up receipts, lock valuables in safety deposit boxes tucked away…

Obviously, the only way to find the best home owner insurance company in Texas is to find the company that will insure everything you need insured, and insure it at a price you can afford. Sounds pretty simple, right?

However, many people mistakenly purchase a policy from a home owner insurance company in Texas without first knowing the condition of their homes. They make lists of all their possessions, gather up receipts, lock valuables in safety deposit boxes tucked away in banks, and feel that their Texas home owner insurance policy will handle the rest. However, a Texas home owner insurance policy can only handle what you let it handle.

For example, imagine you’ve splurged and purchased the building materials to add that dream deck to your home. You also installed a glass door for easy access to the deck from the inside of your home, and vice versa. Most people would just give their Texas home owner insurance company a call and add the deck, and the door, to the home owner insurance policy.

That’s great. Should your deck or glass door be damaged, your Texas home owner insurance company should cover the cost of repair or replacement. Yet, there are ways to prevent damage to your building materials, thus preventing damage to your end result – in this situation, the deck and the glass door. If you take the precautions to prevent damage to your home and its additions, you could end up saving yourself more than a few dollars.

You see, in Texas it’s very important to know how your home will hold up against windstorms, and unless you’re an expert in the housing and windstorm fields, you should consider giving the Texas Department of Insurance a call and scheduling an appointment to have your home evaluated. The Texas Department of Insurance will evaluate all building products and their resistance to windstorms and flying debris at no cost.

What Is A Debt Consolidation Company?

Most of us don’t really know what a debt consolidation company does. Obviously it has something to do with consolidation debts, but for what purpose? Why do we need them? What do they do? Hopefully this article will explain a little of this to you.

Debt consolidation companies work with people who have more debt than they can handle. They are there to help people get out of the financial ruts that they have found themselves in get them on the road to financial solvency.


bad credit debt consolidation, debt consolidate, bill consolidation
Most of us don’t really know what a debt consolidation company does. Obviously it has something to do with consolidation debts, but for what purpose? Why do we need them? What do they do? Hopefully this article will explain a little of this to you.

Debt consolidation companies work with people who have more debt than they can handle. They are there to help people get out of the financial ruts that they have found themselves in get them on the road to financial solvency.

How do people get so heavily in debt in the first place? The most common way is by having too many credit cards and not paying off your credit card balances every month. In a very short amount of time this type of debt can become an enormous burden, one that is very difficult to handle on your own. That is where the debt consolidation company comes in.

Now that you know what a debt consolidation company is, we will go over how they work. The debt consolidation company offers financial advice and counseling to credit consumers who are deeply in debt and can no longer afford their monthly repayments. What they do is have you gather up all your financial documents, credit card statements, as well as your pay information. Then they will sit with you and make up a budget that you can live on based on your income and monthly expenses. They then take what is left over from your income, after your expenses have been met, and use that money to pay off your creditors. Well, what if the amount you have left over is not enough to pay all your other bills?

Obviously you do not have enough to cover all your debts, or you wouldn’t be seeking help from a debt consolidation company! Your counselor will contact all of your creditors on your behalf and negotiate with them to come up with an amount that they will accept and that you can afford. In that way they are assured of getting regular payments and you are assured of being able to make the payments.

In addition to being able to meet your monthly obligations and have the peace of mind in knowing that your bills are being paid on time each month, there is another very important aspect to working with a debt consolidation company. Using the services of a debt consolidation company you will be able to reduce the amount of debt you have accumulated in a shorter amount of time and achieve financial freedom.

Company Helps Families With Home Ownership

As the stock market remains bearish and portfolios continue to make only minor gains, the demand for homes has never been higher.
Company Helps Families With Home Ownership
As the stock market remains bearish and portfolios continue to make only minor gains, the demand for homes has never been higher.

It is with this economic trend that more people are opting to invest in one of the most enduring forms of equity: real estate.

Nevertheless, according to the 2000 census, there are more than 35 million families who rent.

Experts say that while many families are interested in home ownership, a major obstacle they face is the down payment.

Enclaves Group Inc., a spin-off of N.Y.-based real estate corporation Homes For America Holdings Inc., has created a “lease and own” program called Your Home, which the company devised to enable renters to enter the homeowner market.

“The Your Home Program is simple to understand and accessible to all Americans,” said Mark MacFarlane, chief operating officer of Enclaves Group. “This creative program has no down payment and offers a structured purchase plan that creates home ownership equity for the working family.”

In fact, MacFarlane noted that while the demand for housing has spurred the construction of new homes, traditional financing methods have not expanded to accommodate the needs of many ordinary families.

With no down payment required, the ability to accumulate “Good Resident Credits” and build substantial equity over a period of 36 months, MacFarlane says the program taps into a market that to date has received little or no attention: working families from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds who have not been able to overcome the obstacles to home ownership.

“Enclaves is the first and only home builder to target this unserved market,” said Robert MacFarlane, chairman and chief executive officer of Home For America Holdings. “It’s a simple process – what many families are currently paying in rent can now immediately apply for equity for their own piece of the American dream.”

How To Deal With Your Auto Insurance Company

Disputes, especially when it comes to settling insurance claims, are not new scenarios. In fact, they take place every day. Just what causes these disputes? Well, one of the obvious reasons is most policy holders think that they deserve to be paid a larger settlement than what they receive. Second, claims are slow to process. And third, claims are denied.

There are various ways to deal with your auto insurance company. First, is the aggressive approach, which I am not enc…

Disputes, especially when it comes to settling insurance claims, are not new scenarios. In fact, they take place every day. Just what causes these disputes? Well, one of the obvious reasons is most policy holders think that they deserve to be paid a larger settlement than what they receive. Second, claims are slow to process. And third, claims are denied.

There are various ways to deal with your auto insurance company. First, is the aggressive approach, which I am not encouraging since I am a peace-loving individual, and believe that everything should be settled in a peaceful and civilized manner. There are actually several peaceful options which a policyholder may undertake depending on the degree of insurance dispute.

For cases wherein your insurance agent is unable to solve your problem, it is advised to get the name and then the phone number of your insurance company’s claims department. Afterwards, call the consumer complaint department and never hesitate to tell them your problem because they may be able to help you. And don’t forget to get the name of the person whom you talked with in the consumer complaint department.

The next step is to send all documents to the consumer complaint department to back up your complaints. Send it to the person whom you talked with in the consumer complaint department. But be sure not to send the original copies of your documents. Have your documents photocopied because you need the original copies in case you have to take the matter to court.

Another option that you have is to ask for reassessment of your claims from the appraisal service or the arbitration service of your insurance company. If the result still has not satisfied you there is always your own state’s insurance department that may be able to help you.

However, if you still feel that you have not been given a satisfying solution to your insurance problem you may call 1-800-942-4242 which is a toll free consumer information service that is sponsored by the insurance industry. They have trained personnel that are available to assist and answer queries relating to various auto insurance complaints. They are available Monday to Friday, from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.

Nevertheless, if you still feel that after you have applied all the above-mentioned options and yet you feel that you have not been given the appropriate solution you want, you can always take the matter to court. You can hire a lawyer, preferably one who is an expert in handling auto insurance cases.

There are many qualified lawyers out there who may be able to help you. According to studies, insurance claims have a much better chance of being settled if it is done with the assistance of an auto insurance expert lawyer. This is because your auto insurance lawyer knows every miniscule detail there is to know regarding auto insurance claims. Protect your rights; hire an auto insurance lawyer to help you.

Finding A Company To Consolidate Debt

A debt management company can consolidate your debt and lower your interest rates by negotiating with your creditors. Debt management companies can also help you pay off your loans sooner. But before you sign up with a company, make sure your research their services, fees, and practices.

Research Companies

It is important to research debt management companies to make sure you aren’t scammed out of thousands in fees. Legitimate companies offer a valuable service, charge …
debt consolidation, debt management, debt negotiation
A debt management company can consolidate your debt and lower your interest rates by negotiating with your creditors. Debt management companies can also help you pay off your loans sooner. But before you sign up with a company, make sure your research their services, fees, and practices.

Research Companies

It is important to research debt management companies to make sure you aren’t scammed out of thousands in fees. Legitimate companies offer a valuable service, charge reasonable fees, and are willing to disclose their terms.

Many debt management companies operate online and provide information through their website and over the phone. In a few hours, you can research dozens of companies to find the best one for you.

Ask About Services

The first question you should ask is what services the company offers. You want a company that specializes in handling accounts. Ask how soon the company begins making payments on your loans. Some companies wait several months before making payments, raking up late charges for you.

Some companies also offer certified credit counselors to help you develop a financial plan. This can be a valuable service if you want to consider other options for handling your debt.

Be wary of companies that offer bankruptcy or debt negotiation. These types of companies tend to focus on collecting fees rather than getting your debts paid off.

Compare Fees

All debt management companies charge fees. Reasonable fees consist of monthly payments for each account handled. Companies who charge large upfront fees expect you will drop out of the program before they provide you full service. By comparing fees of several companies, you will quickly be able to tell what is reasonable.

Request Free Information

Request a written quote of when accounts will be paid off. Each account will have a different pay off date since balances and rates will vary. A debt management company will be able to give you an exact date because lower rates are predetermined by creditors.

You should also ask for a written copy of the contract before signing. Be sure to review all items. Watch out for delayed payments or high fees for unnecessary services.

An Analysis of Wells Fargo & Company (WFC)

A value investor analyzes Wells Fargo & Company (WFC) from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective to determine if the current stock price is attractive.
WFC, bank, banks, wells, fargo, banking, value, investor, stock, stocks, market, investing, finance
Copyright 2006 Geoff Gannon

Wells Fargo & Company (WFC) is a huge Western and Midwestern bank that provides a diverse array of financial services to its more than 23 million customers. The company employs more than 150,000 people at its over 6,000 locations nationwide. Wells Fargo has about $500 billion in assets.

While the company continues to derive more than half its revenues from interest income (about $26 billion), its activities are not limited to collecting deposits and lending money. Wells Fargo engages in other businesses such as brokerage services, asset management, and investment banking. The company also makes venture capital investments.

Over the last ten years, Wells Fargo has averaged a 1.57% return on assets and an 18.19% return on equity.

Location

Wells Fargo is closely associated with California in the minds of most investors. The company now operates in 23 different states. However, the concentration in California remains.

Mortgage lending in California accounts for approximately 14% of Wells Fargo’s total loan portfolio. Commercial real estate loans in California account for another 5% of the company’s total loans. No other single state accounts for a similarly sized portion of total loans. In fact, neither mortgage lending nor commercial real estate lending in any other state accounts for more than 2% of Wells Fargo’s total loans.

Cross-Selling

Wells Fargo’s focus on cross-selling is well known. The company has a stated goal of doubling the number of products the average consumer and business customer has with Wells Fargo to eight products per customer (from the current four products per customer).

Cross-selling increases customer stickiness. It also helps increase profitability by decreasing expenses relative to revenues. The need for a large physical footprint is reduced – as is the need for a large number of bankers. Instead, the existing infrastructure is able to provide additional revenue from the same customers.

Wells Fargo’s Chairman & CEO, Richard Kovacevich, explains the importance of the company’s cross-selling in the “Vision & Values” section of the corporate website:

“Cross-selling — or what we call “needs-based” selling — is our most important strategy. Why? Because it is an “increasing returns” business model. It’s like the “network effect” of e-commerce. It multiplies opportunities geometrically. The more you sell customers the more you know about them. The more you know about them the easier it is to sell them more products. The more products customers have with you the better value they receive and the more loyal they are. The longer they stay with you the more opportunities you have to meet even more of their financial needs. The more you sell them the higher the profit because the added cost of selling another product to an existing customer is often only about ten percent of the cost of selling that same product to a new customer. This gives us—as an aggregator — a significant cost advantage over one product or one channel companies. Cross-selling re-invents how financial services are aggregated and sold to customers — just like other aggregators such as Wal-Mart (general merchandise), Home Depot (home improvement products) and Staples (office supplies).”

Mr. Kovacevich’s enthusiasm for the cross-selling model is well justified. It is difficult to quantify the importance of meeting all the varied needs of your customers, because you can not measure the opportunities you missed. However, it is obvious that reducing each customer’s interest in considering a competitor’s services will greatly increase long-term profitability for any company engaged in any line of business – not just for a bank.

Later, in the same website section, Mr. Kovacevich addresses the importance of customer stickiness:

“(Cross-selling) is our most important customer-related sales metric. We want to earn 100 percent of our customers’ business. The more products customers have with Wells Fargo the better deal they get, the more loyal they are, and the longer they stay with the company, improving retention. Eighty percent of our revenue growth comes from selling more products to existing customers.”

This focus on retention is an important part of a long-term plan to maintain Wells Fargo’s above-average returns on assets and equity. Extraordinary profitability comes from differentiating your product or service from those of your competitors. Increasing customer stickiness and reducing “comparison shopping” is a key part of maintaining extraordinary profitability.

Some businesses are blessed with enviable economics because of their product’s natural prominence in the minds of their customers. Most businesses are obsessed with market share. But, how many really think about “mind share”? Obviously, a product like Coke (KO), Hershey (HSY), or Snickers is going to have a positive association in the minds of consumers.

For many people, these products will also have a prominent place in each customer’s mind (relative to other products and services on which money can be spent). A few other businesses have a healthy mind share without the positive association; GEICO is the most obvious example. The company’s brand conjures up nothing but the words “auto insurance”. Of course, that’s all the GEICO brand has to do.

So, what does all this have to do with Wells Fargo? Mind share isn’t just the result of exposure to advertising. In fact, in most cases, exposure to advertising can not duplicate the kind of results that a direct, differentiated experience creates. Entertainment properties are by far the leaders in mind share. People who saw and loved Star Wars remember the film. In fact, they don’t just remember the film, they actually file it away (or, more precisely, cross reference it) in countless ways within their mind.

The evidence for this particular example is abundant. There are countless references to Star Wars in other media. The name, the music, the opening text and countless other elements are immediately recognizable. Even the films Star Wars fans hated made more money than almost any other movies in the history of cinema – and this was decades after the original came out. So, obviously Star Wars has the kind of lasting mind share any business should aspire to if it hopes to continuously earn extraordinary profits.

Unfortunately, most businesses, however well run, can not attain this kind of mind share. The products and services they provide can never be as differentiated and memorable as a motion picture. Just as importantly, the positive associations will not be present, simply because the product or service is not inherently exciting, entertaining, or pleasant. This is clearly the case in financial services.

So, what can a financial services company do to improve its mind share? The most obvious tactic is simply to “wow” its customers. In fact, Wells Fargo’s CEO discusses this particular option in the “Vision and Values” section of the company’s website:

” We have to ‘wow!’ them. We know what that feels like because we’re all customers. We go to the cleaners, the grocery store, a restaurant or whatever, and we find a situation where we’re ‘wowed!’ We walk out and we say, those people really listened to me and helped me get what I need. All of us hear stories about customers, say, who pick a certain line at the supermarket because they know the person who bags the groceries connects with customers — smiles, greets regular customers by name, asks how their families are doing. When a personal banker helps a customer in one of our stores, or when a customer gets help from one of our phone bankers or does transactions on wellsfargo.com we want them to say, ‘That was great. I can’t wait to tell someone.'”

Another option worth pursuing is widening the associations present in the customer’s mind. Financial services is a business where associations tend to be more conscious, categorized, and hierarchical than the associations formed in more heavily branded businesses. Put simply, the (potential) customer usually thinks of a “set” before thinking of an “element” within that set. Like many mental associations, the information can be returned in either direction. For example, the customer may normally think “banks” and then think “Wells Fargo”, but will also be able to return the word “bank” if prompted by the name “Wells Fargo”. This categorization is important, because it provides (limited) permission for Wells Fargo to expand its mind share horizontally (across service categories).

In other words, providing a diverse range of financial services doesn’t just make sense from the provider’s perspective, it also makes sense from the user’s perspective, because the user of financial services has already grouped deposits, borrowing, credit cards, insurance, brokerage services, asset management, etc. together in a very loose way within his mind. As a result of this mental network, one positive experience with Wells Fargo will greatly affect a customer’s desire to pay for an additional service, even if the two services are not really all that similar.

The three key elements here are: a broader definition of what Wells Fargo is (a place that does “money things”, not just a bank), a positive experience, and some sense of trust that the quality of service will be consistent. The last requirement is the easiest to meet, because it’s natural for a customer to assume that the positive experience was not a fluke, much the way a diner assumes the good meal he had at a particular restaurant was not caused by his picking the best offering from the menu. The diner usually assumes the overall quality of the restaurant’s various entrees is superior. Likewise, a good experience with one of Wells Fargo’s products or services will likely rub off on its other offerings.

Valuation

Shares of Wells Fargo currently yield just over 3%. The stock trades at a price-to-book ratio of just under 2.75 and a price-to-earnings ratio of less than 15.

Conclusion

Over the last 5, 10, 15, and 20 years shareholders of Wells Fargo & Company have fared better than the S&P 500. As of the end of last year, WFC’s total return over the last ten years was 17% vs. 9% for the S&P. Over the last 20 years, WFC outpaced the S&P 500 by an even wider margin: 21% vs. 12%.

Wells Fargo has a stellar reputation with investors. The company is the only U.S. bank to earn Moody’s highest credit rating. Wells Fargo also boasts a well-known major shareholder. The largest owner of the company’s common stock is Berkshire Hathaway. Warren Buffett’s holding company has a roughly 5.5% stake in Wells Fargo. Berkshire’s last reported purchase occurred during the first quarter of this year.

Wells Fargo has a stated goal of achieving double-digit growth in earnings and revenue while managing a return on assets over 1.75% and a return on equity over 20%. Those are both very ambitious goals. The company has achieved some of the highest returns on assets and equity of any major U.S. bank. However, Wells Fargo will probably need to increase the percentage of revenue it derives from fee businesses if it is to achieve these goals.

In the years ahead, the company may well become more of a diversified financial services business. In fact, that’s what I expect will happen. The company’s commitment to cross-selling is not some fad. Eventually, this commitment will change the way investors think about Wells Fargo. Soon, it may be considered much more than a bank.

Wells Fargo’s CEO makes the case that his company’s P/E is simply too low. Wells Fargo has a solid history of strong growth and profitability. So, why should it be valued similarly to most other banks? Shouldn’t it be awarded a multiple more in line with a growth company?

There’s actually some merit to this argument. Wells Fargo is unusually well positioned for a bank. Often, those banks that seem certain to earn very high returns on assets and equity for many years to come are poorly positioned for future growth. These banks are often smaller than their competitors and focused on a specific geographic niche. Any acquisitions would dilute the exceptional profitability of the bank’s niche.

Of course, there are also many consolidators in the banking industry. Unfortunately, many of these banks do not have a history of earning the kind of returns on assets and equity that Wells Fargo has achieved. Even more importantly, there is little differentiation between these titans of the banking industry and their national competitors. Therefore, their moats are highly suspect.

Wells Fargo is a different kind of bank. It has a history of extraordinary growth and profitability. There are two obvious opportunities for future growth: geographic expansion and cross-selling. Of these two opportunities, it’s clear I’m more enamored with the latter. An eastward push is not necessary, and certainly not via an ill-advised acquisition.

There is a lot of value in the Wells Fargo franchise and there is plenty of room within that franchise for future growth. That’s one of the great advantages of the financial services industry. With the right model, limits to growth are almost non-existent. In other highly-profitable industries, there is often nowhere to reinvest new capital at a similar rate of return.

If Wells Fargo is a growth stock, it is a peculiar sort of growth stock. Maybe that is what attracted Buffett to the company in the first place. Here is a business with a strong franchise that can grow for many years to come. Perhaps most importantly, it is a growth business that frequently trades in the market at value like multiples, simply because it’s a bank.

At the current market price, Wells Fargo is the sort of investment you make once and forget. The valuation is not so cheap as to promise a good return if the business falters. But, the business is not so suspect as to require the margin of safety be provided by a low P/E ratio. Sometimes, near certain growth is the margin of safety.