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How Massive are the Largest Banks as Compared to Credit Unions?


It will probably take a while before we know how many deposits were moved from the big banks to the credit unions due to the Bank Transfer Day campaign. The official Bank Transfer Day was Saturday November 5th, but the momentum will likely continue. Reports last week noted that "650,000 new members transferred a total of $4.5 billion in funds into new credit union savings accounts in the month leading up to Bank Transfer Day."

I've seen some in the news media express concerned about how Bank Transfer Day could create a bank run. I was surprised to hear concerns. Not everyone may be aware of the massive size of the big banks. Banks still hold the vast majority of deposits. According to the Wall Street Journal "Credit unions held just 8% of federally insured deposits as of June 30, compared with 70% for banks that have assets of more than $10 billion." A WSJ chart shows that the total deposits of all credit unions are just over $800 billion. As a comparison, the deposits of banks are just under $10 trillion ($10,000 billion).

I thought it would be informative to review the sizes of the largest banks and credit unions. In the two tables below I've listed the largest 20 U.S. banks and credit unions. They are ranked by deposits.

To show how massive the megabanks are, I graphed the deposit size of the four largest banks and the total combined deposits of the largest 20 credit unions. The deposits of the 20 largest credit unions added together equal $149 billion. The largest bank by deposits is Chase which has $1.18 trillion. This is almost 8 times the size of the combined deposits of the largest 20 credit unions.

Largest 4 banks compared to largest 20 credit unions

Unfortunately, these four megabanks have grown larger since the 2008 the financial crisis. They were too big to fail before the crisis, and now they're even bigger. The size increases were due to their acquisition of banks that had failed or were near failure. Chase acquired Washington Mutual when it failed. Wells Fargo acquired Wachovia when it was near failure in 2008. Bank of America acquired Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch.

The large sizes of these four megabanks can be seen in the other large banks. The fifth largest is currently US Bank which has total deposits of about $219 billion. That's about one-fourth the size of the smallest of the big four, Citibank. Note, I'm still keeping Capital One and ING Direct separate since their merger has not yet closed. Once this merger completes, Capital One will be near the size of US Bank.

Largest 20 Banks Based in U.S. by Deposits

Rank Bank State Headquartered Deposits (in billions)
1 JPMorgan Chase Bank New York $1,144
2 Bank of America North Carolina $1,060
3 Wells Fargo Bank California $887
4 Citibank New York $861
5 US Bank Ohio $219
6 The Bank of New York Mellon New York $194
7 PNC Bank Delaware $188
8 TD Bank Delaware $143
9 HSBC Bank USA Virginia $139
10 State Street Bank and Trust Company Massachusetts $132
11 Capital One Virginia $131
12 SunTrust Bank Georgia $129
13 Branch Banking and Trust Company (BB&T) North Carolina $111
14 RBS Citizens Rhode Island $100
15 Regions Bank Alabama $99
16 FIA Card Services Delaware $95
17 Fifth Third Bank Ohio $83
18 ING DIRECT Delaware $82
19 KeyBank Ohio $62
20 M&T Bank New York $60

Largest 20 Credit Unions by Deposits

Rank Credit Union State Headquartered Deposits (in billions)
1 Navy Federal Credit Union Virginia $32.78
2 State Employees' Credit Union North Carolina $21.13
3 Pentagon Federal Credit Union Virginia $12.02
4 Boeing Employees Credit Union Washington $8.65
5 SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union California $7.63
6 Alliant Credit Union Illinois $6.52
7 The Golden 1 Credit Union California $6.50
8 Security Service Federal Credit Union Texas $5.58
9 American Airlines Credit Union Texas $4.85
10 America First Credit Union Utah $4.56
11 San Diego County Credit Union California $4.45
12 Suncoast Schools Credit Union Florida $4.42
13 Citizens Equity First Credit Union Illinois $4.10
14 Alaska USA Credit Union Alaska $4.09
15 Star One Credit Union California $3.98
16 Bethpage Credit Union New York $3.78
17 Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union Texas $3.59
18 Delta Community Credit Union Georgia $3.54
19 Vystar Credit Union Florida $3.44
20 Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union Pennsylvania $3.38

The above deposits are based on June 2011 data from the FDIC and NCUA websites. Several of these large banks have multiple FDIC charters. The deposits listed in the table are the sum of the deposits from these multiple charters.

If you don't see your bank or credit union listed in the above tables, you can find your institution's size and other financial data using our Bank Health Ratings page. On this page you can find your institution using the search box or at the bottom of this page which has a sortable list of institutions and their Texas Ratios.

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Peggy Keefe, Kasasa Social Media Coordinator
  |     |   Comment #1
Great overview. Thanks for posting.
  |     |   Comment #2
A very informative post! I had no idea how completely lopsided megabank deposits are when compared to credit union deposits. I'm glad I have most of my money with Alliant and a smaller portion with Penfed. I made the switch three years ago and haven't regretted it for a moment.
  |     |   Comment #3
I wish our politicians would take a look at this chart. It is beyond obvious that we need to break up these 4 humongous banks. They are too big to fail and distort the marketplace because of their monopolistic presence. One of these days, the taxpayers will be asked to bail out one of these banks, and the cost of doing so will be massive.
  |     |   Comment #4
The 14th rank of RBS Citizens Bank is a bit deceptive: it's a sleeping giant as it is a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland, the world's largest bank with $3.8 trillion in assets.
  |     |   Comment #5
The top four as also very prominent in the credit card industry (Bank of America, Citibank, and Chase) and mortgage industry (Wells Fargo).
  |     |   Comment #6
For media visibility, I have seen TV commercials for 10 of the commercial banks listed.  I have only seen 1 of the credit unions on a TV commericial.  That speaks for itself.
  |     |   Comment #7
When it comes to comparing banks to credit unions, we should not only examine their relationships with consumers, but also with merchants.  As far as the latter is concerned, a strong argument can be made that in the post-Durbin world banks, big and small, are now much more merchant-friendly than credit unions.


See, credit unions were exempted from the Durbin Amendment and as a result the fees they charge retailers accepting their debit cards are now much higher (83%, to be exact) than what banks charge.  http://blog.unibulmerchantservices.com/credit-unions-muscle-in-on-big-bank-territory


So we should not be losing sight of the issue that got the whole thing started – the size of the debit interchange fees. It seems to me that the issue is a very simple one. If a fee charged by one bank to a merchant is considered too high, it should also be considered too high if any other bank, or a credit union, charges it to that retailer. I just can't see it any other way and I can guarantee you that merchants see it exactly the way I do.
  |     |   Comment #8
Actually, I see no problem with the big banks, as compared with the much smaller and far more vulnerable CU's. The BOA stock may very well be the best long term opportunity that you will see for some time. It's up to you and time will tell.
  |     |   Comment #10
Just my opinion re: post #3: "It is beyond obvious that we need to break up these 4 humongous banks. " 

I think that a lot of people, and economists, would have a problem with that.  Why don't we break up IBM, and Wal-Mart...and Microsoft?   How about McDonald's and Home Depot?  This is a democratic country, and dominant, large companies should be allowed to exist if they obey the laws and regulations.  To do otherwise is almost socialistic.  But of course, abuses and bail-outs should not happen, no question.
  |     |   Comment #11
Oh what a phenomenal piece of information and eye-opening!!!  Typical compliments of the indefatigable work of our good friend Ken!!!   Thank you so much Ken, and also comments are always very enlightening!   :)
  |     |   Comment #12
To Teresa #10: What does democracy have to do with the presence of large corporations?  We could have democracy without any corporate "personhood" at all.
  |     |   Comment #13

Maybe what I meant to say was "capitalism."  In a capitalistic system, large banks or corporations aren't broken up just because they are large or dominant, or to help the "little guys."  If Home Depot, for example, runs its business better than smaller competitors, it should be allowed to do so without govt. interference.
john S
  |     |   Comment #14
  |     |   Comment #15
No reason the big banks can't grow larger, with further consolidation.  The Big Five in Canada have a FAR larger share of nationwide deposits than the top American banks do.  The equivalent of RBC's share in Canada would leave JP Morgan Chase with about $4 trillion, about 3.5x what its current deposit base is.

Of course, the Canadian banks are also more tightly-regulated than the American banks are.  That should be a quid pro quo that we can all get behind.
  |     |   Comment #16
Great example of how consumers no longer understand how the financial world works: "john S - #14, Sunday, November 13, 2011 - 6:25 AM  I HAVE REMOVED MY MONEY FROM THE LARGE BANK. **** THEM AND PAID OFF THE CAR LOAN AHEAD OF TIME."

With securitization, the bank doesn't really care if the loan is paid off early.  It's long off their books, perhaps as early as three months after issuing the loan.  Who got ****ed by the foregone interest?  The pension funds that bought the Asset-Backed Security.
  |     |   Comment #17
Tom, I don't think it would be a good idea to allow our mega banks to continue to increase their market share by acquiring other banks. Monopolies are never beneficial for the consumer in a free market sytem. If your proposing to alow them to get bigger in exchange for more regulation to prevent them from failing, I would totally disagree. The much better way of dealing with this problem is to break them up and let them fail if they **** up. I don't want any of these banks in a too-big-to-fail situation. No reason to allow them to keep their profits and to have the taxpayer assume their losses.
  |     |   Comment #18
Keep in mind and many bank assets are from Commercial accounts. Most Credit Unions focus on personal lending and poersonal services, not commercial. Also, credit unions service primarily local markets with only a few operating regionally or nationally like the larger banks. This is the principal reason for the disparity in assets between the largest banks and credit unions. 

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