The dominance of mega-banks

A City Feels the Squeeze in the Age of Mega Banks


Bank of America, J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo now have 33% of all U.S. deposits, up from 21% in mid-2007—the fastest shift of such a large chunk of deposits in U.S. history. Much of the gain came from their acquisitions of Countrywide Financial Corp., Washington Mutual Inc. and Wachovia Corp., respectively.

The three huge banks made 57% of all home mortgages in the first quarter, up from 28% in 2008, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, an industry newsletter.


Measured in loans and other assets, Citigroup Inc. and the three other giants had $7.7 trillion as of March 31, up 56% since the end of 2007. Their combined assets are nearly twice as big as the assets of the next 46 biggest banks, according to SNL Financial, a research firm in Charlottesville, Va.

By providing more branches, ATMs and features like free online bill payment, the newly consolidated banks have made many basic services more convenient and cheaper for customers. The banking giants often offer lower mortgage rates and other types of loans than smaller players.

"At the end of the day, consumers and small businesses will benefit" from consolidation, says Bank of America executive Mark Hogan, who runs retail branches on the East Coast.

To keep their costs down, however, the big banks generally pay lower rates on certificates of deposit and other types of savings products than the small players, meaning less interest income for millions of depositors.

Comment: Discerning consumers have options in the IngDirects, LendingTrees and PenFeds. TCF is a good local hometown bank. I work for one of the mega-banks. It's a great place for full banking services. But we did our last home re-finance with LendingTree. We have the bulk of our savings at ING. We have credit card relationships with two other banks. Our last auto loan was with the Postal Credit Union. Consider earlier post Banking oligopoly

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