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Goldman Tops List of Best, Biggest Banks

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- A Goldman Sachs (GS) subsidiary is the most profitable among the 20 biggest banks on TheStreet.com's "recommended" list.

Goldman Sachs Bank USA, which had $115 billion in assets as of Sept. 30, earned a rating of B-plus (good financial strength) or higher. Goldman Sachs Bank USA joins 1,034 other banks and savings-and-loans. The list of A-plus rated institutions is dominated by community banks.

Goldman Sachs Bank USA was formed in November 2008, when Goldman combined the former Utah industrial bank of the same name with its New York trust company, and instantly joined the group of 20 largest U.S. banks. The deposits of wealth-management customers were funneled in, and more than $100 billion in assets tied to Goldman's trading, lending and servicing, structured finance, custody and other businesses were moved on to the bank's balance sheet.

Goldman converted to a bank holding company in September 2008, making the company eligible for a capital infusion via the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, while allowing the bank and holding company to participate in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program and opening up other sources of liquidity, including a greater ability to gather deposits and the ability to borrow from the Federal Reserve.

The Federal Reserve required Goldman Sachs Bank USA to maintain capital ratios in excess of those required for most banks to be considered well-capitalized. After a net loss of $250 million during 2008, which reflected trading losses, the bank reported strong trading revenue and net income of $2.8 billion for the first three quarters of 2009.

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