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SAN FRANCISCO-Wells Fargo & Co. said Thursday it will try to raise $6 billion through a common stock offering. J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. and Wachovia Securities are underwriting the offering for the locally headquartered bank. The announcement comes the same day the Treasury Department reported the results of its stress test for banks, which showed Wells Fargo, one of the nation’s largest banks, needs to scare up $13.7 billion despite receiving $25 billion in taxpayer funds last year.

The tests were aimed at gauging how much more capital any of the 19 largest US banks would need if the recession were to worsen. In all, 10 banks were said to need a combined $74.6 billion on top of the $157 billion in TARP funds they received.

The only bank determined to need more money than Wells Fargo is Bank of America Corp., which is said to need an additional $33.9 billion on top of $45 billion in TARP money. BofA on Thursday said it would sell 1.5 billion shares of common stock to help meet the capital requirement, and also will sell some businesses. The third largest total was GMAC LLC, which is said to need an additional $11.5 billion on top of $5 billion in TARP funds.

Wells Fargo shares closed at $24.76, down nearly 8% on heavy trading volume, and declined further in after-hours trading. On Wednesday, as part of a cost-cutting initiative, the company has issued layoff notices to 548 workers in Charlotte, NC, the former home of Wachovia Corp., which Wells Fargo acquired in late 2008 for $12.5 billion.

The company also said it is freezing its cash-balance pension plan for all employees. Previously, it cut its dividend by 85%. Unlike many other companies, however, the banks said it will continue to match employees’ 401(k) contributions of up to 6%.

Last week, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf said the bank will pay back $25 billion to the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program and restore its dividend as soon as possible. Last month, Wells Fargo reported a 53% year-over-year jump in its first quarter profit as record-low interest rates prompted more borrowers to refinance.

“We earn our way out,” Stumpf reportedly said at the San Francisco company’s annual shareholders’ meeting April 28. “This company has a great capacity to produce wonderful results. That will be the driving force.”

The other banks said to need additional capital are Citigroup Inc. ($5 billion), which received the most TARP money ($50 billion); Region’s Financial Corp. and Sun Trust Banks Inc.($2.2 billion each); KeyCorp ($1.8 billion); Morgan Stanley ($1.5 billion); Fifth Third Bancorp. ($1.1 billion), and; PNC Financial Services ($0.6 billion). Citigroup said Thursday it would convert preferred shares in order to meet the requirement.

Several others were determined not to need additional capital. Those deemed already prepared for a deeper recession include JP Morgan Chase, American Express Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of New York Mellon Corp., MetLife Inc., Capital One Financial Corp. and State Street Corp.

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