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Bank of America's Deposits Shrink, Bucking Big Bank Growth Trend

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Yes, the big banks are getting bigger. But there's more to it than that, especially for investors.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s annual deposit market share data for U.S. banks and bank holding companies is now available. The "big four" bank holding companies, including Bank of America (BAC - Get Report), JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Get Report), Wells Fargo (WFC - Get Report) and Citigroup (C - Get Report) have continued to see their share of the nation's bank deposits increase. This will lead to the usual knee-jerk headlines whining about "too big to fail" banks and how the big keep getting bigger despite the best efforts of regulators and politicians.

Looking past the noise, there are some interesting items contained in the data that underline the success of the big four in pursuing their post-crisis strategies.

The big four had a combined U.S. deposit market share of 37.29% as of June 30, according to the FDIC data. This share grew from 36.68% in June 2012 and 34.51% in June 2008.

All four of the nation's largest banks saw their deposit market shares grow over the past five years, and all but one saw its share grow over the past year. But three of the big four lowered their U.S. branch count over the past five years -- two of them by very significant amounts, underlining the industry's emphasis on cost-control.

That June 2008 figure includes some back-filling of data, to include the two Merrill Lynch bank subsidiaries that Bank of America acquired along with the nation's largest brokerage firm in January 2009. The back-filling also includes the two bank subsidiaries purchased by JPMorgan Chase from the FDIC in September 2008, after Washington Mutual became the nation's largest bank ever to fail. The 2008 deposit market share for Wells Fargo is combined with Wachovia's deposits. Wells Fargo acquired Wachovia at the end of 2008.

Here's a quick summary of how the big four stacked up as of June 30:

Bank of America

Bank of America's share of U.S. deposits declined to 12.16% as of June 30 from 12.62% a year earlier. The company is still, by far, the market share leader, but it is also the only one of the big four to see its market share decline over the past year. This is in part by design, as the bank under the leadership of CEO Brian Moynihan continues to focus on right-sizing its balance sheet and cutting costs. The market share was up from 10.76% in June 2008, in part because of the Merrill Lynch acquisition.
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