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If 'Too Big to Fail' Banks Fail, We'd Be Greece (Correct)

After adding the assets of Wachovia to Wells Fargo and the assets of Washington Mutual to JPMorgan, JPMorgan moves into first place with $1.806 trillion, controlling 13.58% of all assets basis in the second quarter of 2008. Wells Fargo moves ahead of Citigroup into third place with $1.340 trillion controlling 10.08% of all assets basis 2Q 2008. Overall the four "too big to fail" jumped from controlling 38.52% of all assets to controlling 47.05%.

Five years later, JPMorgan is even bigger, with $2.027 trillion in assets controlling 14.07% of the $14.41 trillion of total assets in the banking system. Bank of America reduced assets by 7.20% over the last five years to $1.658 trillion in assets controlling 11.51% of all assets in the banking system. Overall, the four "too big to fail" banks control 43.95% of all assets in the banking system at mid-year 2013.

Here is a list of some of the issues these banks face:

The primary drivers of improved profitability in recent quarters had been noninterest income and reduced loan loss provisions, not increased lending.

All four banks have cut back on their mortgage origination businesses including layoffs, after the quick rise in mortgage rates that began in early May. In my opinion, banks continue to be reluctant to lend and they do not want to hold mortgages on the books with rates as low as they are.

The federal funds rate has been at 0.0% to 0.25% since Dec. 16, 2008, which has shut out savers on Main Street. Savers do not invest in the stock market and depend upon interest on bank CDs for living expenses. The big banks have not raised rates on CDs following recent higher yields on U.S. Treasuries. With the five-Year U.S. Treasury yield at 1.45% the median five-year CD rate among the "too big to fail" banks is a paltry 0.5%.

Before Wells Fargo took over Wachovia, Wachovia had a small business line of credit program priced at 200 basis points above the 3.25% prime rate, setting this rate at 5.25%. After the Wells Fargo name was changed on the bank buildings it raised the rate to 500 above the prime rate at 8.25%. Two months ago it raised the spread to 600 to a rate of 9.25%. I guess the big banks do not want to help small businesses.

Stock quotes in this article: BAC, C, JPM, WFC 

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