If there’s one group that’s not afraid of mergers and acquisitions, it has to be the financial services and banking industry. At present, this country’s banking heavyweights include: Wells Fargo, Chase, Citi, and Bank of America.
As of today, JPMorgan (Chase) still holds the top spot among the big four. It wrestled this position away from Bank of America back in 2011. At one recent point in time, Chase had $2.46 trillion in assets; Bank of America had $2.12 trillion; Citigroup claimed $1.89 trillion in assets and Wells Fargo only had $1.48 trillion. Although these numbers shift constantly, they provide a fairly accurate idea of the immense wealth that’s constantly being handled by these financial institutions.
Here’s a bit more information about how these banks are currently doing, along with references to some of their largest past mergers.
A Broad Overview of the Big Four: Current Activities and Past Mergers
JPMorgan Chase. Although 2013 wasn’t a very good year for this bank since it had to settle numerous lawsuits and address other serious issues, it still leads its competitors. Some of Chase’s larger past mergers and acquisitions have involved Washington Mutual, The Bear Stearns Companies, Bank One Corp and many others described in detail on JPMorgan’s firm history webpage;
Bank of America. Since November of 2013, this bank has managed to move back into the Number Two position regarding assets, right behind Chase. It’s past mergers and acquisitions have included Merrill Lynch, Countrywide Financial, Security Pacific Bancorp, and Continental Bank. As of late March 2014, it reported assets totaling: 2,152,533,000. While this company may be doing quite well, it clearly needs to spend more time improving its reputation among consumers and others in the banking industry. Back in October 2013, The Motley Fool wrote a rather detailed article about how BOA is “America’s Most Hated Bank;”
Citigroup, Inc. As of late March 2014, this bank had moved into third position among America’s four largest banks. Its past mergers and acquisitions have involved such companies as: Travelers Group, European American Bank and Banamex. It appears that Citigroup is struggling through some major headaches right now involving corporate loan fraud activity at Banamex;
Wells Fargo. Although it’s currently finishing last among America’s top four banking institutions, it’s clearly on the move and trying to improve its ranking. Its past mergers and acquisitions have included: Wachovia, First Union and The Money Store. Of course, like all of its competitors, it still has to do daily battle with various ratings and other outside forces.
While only time will tell how well these four American banks will continue to compete with one another in the future, it’s uncertain whether we’ll ever see any more truly large mergers and acquisitions among these four. Yet even if they should occur, there will always be some astute experts who will continue arguing in favor of breaking these giant banks apart.
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