Warren Buffett is known for being a patient investor. But even his legendary patience must be getting tested by Wells Fargo (WFC).
Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) has suffered a $2.5 billion loss on its holdings in the bank since Sept. 8, when the Wells Fargo scandal intensified, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data fromS&P Global Market Intelligence. That is when theConsumer Financial Protection Bureau accused Wells Fargo of creating upwards of 2 million phony customer accounts and hit the bank with a $185 million fine.
Berkshire’s loss for the year on Wells Fargo stock has hit $4.7 billion. That’s a whopper even for a giant investment holding company that owns stakes in companies ranging from Coca-Cola (KO) to Visa (V) and Walmart (WMT). It’s also more than twice the loss Berkshire has taken on its next 10 worst investments in public U.S. companies this year combined. In addition, that $4.7 loss nearly wipes out the $4.8 billion gain on its best-performing stock this year, Kraft Heinz (KHC), according to data from S&P Global.
Berkshire Hathaway is the largest single holder of Wells Fargo stock, owning 10% of shares outstanding. Shares of Wells Fargo are down nearly 17% this year and off 10% since the settlement with the CFPB. Wells Fargo was Berkshire’s biggest investment at the end of 2015, according to its annual report. Now, it’s Berkshire’s second-largest U.S. publicly traded holding after Kraft Heinz. Berkshire could not be reached for comment.