More than three years after their reckless greed triggered the Great Recession, the nation’s biggest banks have paid almost no penalty and are bigger than ever, as these two graphs illustrate.
In 2007, the top four banks — Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo — held assets of $4.3 trillion*, which amounted to 33 percent of the all assets held by U.S. depository institutions (commercial banks and credit unions). By the end of 2011, they controlled $5.9 trillion, or 40 percent of assets.
Overall, in the space of just four years, the share of assets held by these four banks plus another 15 giant banks (defined those with more than $100 billion in assets) rose from 49% to 56%. Meanwhile, the share held by small and medium-sized banks and credit unions declined.
* These figures count only the assets held by the banks’ FDIC-insured subsidiaries and do not reflect nondeposit subsidiaries.