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Bank of America's Retreat: Forget the Alamo (Update 2)

Updated with comments from FBR analyst Paul Miller, Guggenheim analyst Marty Mosby, and market close information for JPMorgan Chase.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Get Report) and Wells Fargo (WFC - Get Report) would possibly see major deposit market share gains if Bank of America (BAC - Get Report) were to eliminate its branch presence in Texas, as part of an emergency plan in the event of a capital shortfall.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal -- which cited unnamed sources -- Bank of America included a scenario of retreating from certain markets in the event of a capital shortfall, among a list of emergency scenarios submitted to the Federal Reserve last year.

Bank of America declined to comment on the Wall Street Journal article, or on its branch network or discussions with the Federal Reserve.

Tom Brown, CEO of hedge fund Second Curve Capital and a well-known bank analyst said in an interview on Bloomberg Television in December that he and Bank of America board member Chad Gifford had been "batting back and forth" the notion of BAC selling part of its branch network, with Texas being cited as an example.

FBR analyst Paul Miller said that "Brian Moynihan did not become CEO to break up this company," but that if the shares were to slip back below $5 and stay there for some time, "there would be other assets they could sell; I don't expect them to be selling branches any times soon."

Miller did say that if the company felt pressed to do so, "they could carve out the old Bank of America on the west coast, or a Texas bank."

Guggenheim Securities analyst Marty Mosby said that in presenting the branch-sale contingency plan to the Fed, Bank of America was "not considering this as a base scenario," but was showing a " backdrop of excess capital hidden from the balance sheet that it could use on a rainy day. "

This type of branch sale would be expected to fetch a higher price than the 0.6 times tangible book value that Bank of America's shares traded for when they closed Thursday at $6.79, according to HighlineFI.

So who would be the winners if Bank of America were to exit the Lonestar State?

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s most recent deposit market share data, JPMorgan Chase Bank NA ranked highest in Texas, with $96 billion in deposits as of June 30.

Bank of America NA was in second place, with $77.7 billion in deposits, and Wells Fargo Bank NA ranked third, with $51.2 billion in Texas deposits. Another Wells Fargo Subsidiary, Wells Fargo Bank South Central NA of Houston, had the sixth-place Texas market share, with $16.7 billion in deposits.

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BAC $15.64 -0.32%
COF $80.44 -1.73%
CFR $70.09 -1.35%
JPM $62.60 -0.32%
WFC $54.70 -0.29%


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