Which US Banks Can Be Considered Wall Street Banks?
All 10 of the banks on the list above can be considered part of Wall Street, but the six largest are really Wall Street’s heart.
Source (The data shown above is from May 2013.)
How Does the Size of the Wall Street Banks Compare To Other Banks?
See the table below, which shows that there are just 19 banks—0.3% of the total—that have more than $100 billion in assets. Also note that over 90% of US banks have less than $1 billion. So the Wall Street banks (especially those with over $2,000 billion in assets) are enormous.
Wall Street Banks Worldwide
These Wall Street banks operate in countries all over the world, making them difficult to manage.
Do We Need Wall Street Banks To Be So Big?
Wall Streeters like to say that we need big banks in order to service big clients like Walmart and Exxon. After all, they argue, a community bank or credit union wouldn’t be able to do much for large corporations.
There’s truth to this: Small lenders aren’t very useful to the Walmarts of the world.
But the question we’re asking isn’t whether we need big banks. The question we’re asking is whether the Wall Street banks have grown too big.
We think they have. Here’s why:
So our response to Wall Streeters who say we need the status quo is: Ha. The United States survived and thrived when the Wall Street banks were so large and concentrated, and we can survive and thrive if these Wall Street banks are made smaller again.
This is why we argue that we should break up the banks already.
MIT economist Simon Johnson talks about how Citigroup’s $2 trillion in total assets qualifies it as being too big to manage.
There’s a reason Citigroup wants to keep it that way, according to their chief economist. This quote is from the fantastic documentary Inside Job.