What Are the Top 5 Banks in the U.S.?

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At first blush, you may think you are clueless about the financial industry and which U.S. banks hold the top spots on our list. However, I’m here to tell you, you’re more knowledgeable on this issue than you may think. In fact, you probably walk or drive by most of these banks on a daily basis or even hold accounts at one. The top five banks hold their elite positions for a reason. Not only are their profit margins astronomical, they’ve monopolized and saturated the market to such an extent they’ve arguably become “too big to fail.”

5 Goldman Sachs Group

Whether it’s a fair assessment or not, the name Goldman Sachs often conjures up notions of wealth and elitism in the minds of many Americans. Headquartered in New York City, the financial services firm focuses on securities, investment banking and investment management. It’s clientele consists primarily of high net-worth individuals as well as corporations, governments and other financial institutions. Arguably, its assets of just under $1 trillion are the result of being selective in the clients it chooses to represent and business ventures it engages in on their behalf.

4 Wells Fargo

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. is a popular bank among consumers, with approximately one in three American households doing business with the company. The company has also been named Best Corporate/Institutional Internet Bank in North America by Global Finance Magazine, in both 2011 and 2012. With $1.4 trillion in assets, Wells Fargo’s business model focuses on three core areas: Wholesale Banking; Community Banking; and Wealth, Brokerage and Retirement. With more than 9,000 stores and 12,000 ATMs, Internet services and operations in more than 35 countries, Wells Fargo has done a good job of making its financial services accessible to the average consumer.

3 Citigroup

Although Citigroup, Inc. has yet to break the $2 trillion mark when it comes to assets, it is holding its own at the No. 3 spot on our list. With $1.8 trillion in assets and operating in more than 140 countries, New York-based Citigroup has positioned itself as a leading provider of broad-based financial products and services, from consumer and investment banking to wealth management and securities brokerage. Citigroup’s powerhouse status was cemented in 1998 when it merged Citicorp with financial conglomerate Travelers Group—one of the largest mergers in world history. Although Citigroup has yet to become the No. 1 U.S. bank, it has maintained its position as one of the Big Five banks for several years.

2 Bank of America

Although Bank of America may not be one of the most popular banks when it comes to consumer satisfaction, it is an undeniable leader in the financial industry. Based in Charlotte, Bank of America is the largest wealth manager in the world and a prominent figure in the investment banking industry. This success was largely made possible by its acquisition of Merrill Lynch in 2008. When it acquired leading credit card issuer MBNA in 2008, Bank of America also became the largest card issuer in the U.S. Just like JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America also has more than $2 trillion in assets.

1 JP Morgan Chase

Headquartered in New York City, JP Morgan Chase & Co., commonly known as Chase, has been the No. 1 one performing bank in the U.S. for several years. With assets in excess of $2 trillion, it is also the largest bank in the U.S., although it boasts operations in more than 60 countries. Chase is also a leader in global investments and one of the largest asset and wealth managers in the world. Much of Chase’s enormous growth and strong foothold in the financial market is due, in large part, to its acquisition of several big U.S. banks over the past decade, including Washington Mutual, Bank One, Bear Stearns, JP Morgan & Co. and Chase Manhattan Bank.

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