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Here Are the Smaller Banks Beating JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Citi for Deposit Share

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The idea that large banks are gaining deposit-market share by leveraging their superior technology is plainly untrue, according to a team of Morgan Stanley bank analysts, who say it's the little guy emerging victorious of late.

"We continue to encounter a false narrative that assumes large-cap banks must be gaining market share by virtue of their superior technology," wrote the team of analysts at Morgan Stanley led by Ken Zerbe. "They aren't. Instead, the small and midcap banks have consistently gained deposit market share over the last five years."

The bank says that between 2014 and first-half 2019, the four largest U.S. banks have lost deposit share, moving to 49.8% of the market from 53.9%. Midcap banks saw their share move up to 11.7% from 10.2%, while small banks went to 16.5% from 13.2% share.

The largest decliners in deposit-market share have been JP Morgan (JPM) - Get JP Morgan Chase & Co. Report , Wells Fargo (WFC) - Get Wells Fargo & Company Report and Citigroup (C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report . Bank of America (BAC) - Get Bank of America Corporation Report has also lost some market share, but less than the first three.

The top two gainers have been First Republic Bank (FRC) - Get FIRST REPUBLIC BANK Report and online bank Ally Financial (ALLY) - Get Ally Financial Inc. Report .

The Morgan Stanley analysts said that the smaller banks have grown their loan books at faster rates than the large banks have, and that growth in small-bank market share can be reliably attributed to the loan growth. The correlation between loan growth and deposit market share growth is "quite high," at 79%, the analysts said.

Other share gainers in banking have been KeyCorp (KEY) - Get KeyCorp Report , which owns KeyBanc Capital Markets, Synchrony Financial (SYF) - Get Synchrony Financial Report and Huntington (HBAN) - Get Huntington Bancshares Incorporated Report . These banks still account for not much more than 5% of deposits in the U.S.

The SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE) - Get SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF Report is up 39% since September 2014, while the SPDR S&P large-cap banking ETF (KBE) - Get SPDR S&P Bank ETF Report , which encompasses banks of all sizes. is up 32% in that span. Important to note: Many large banks have several revenue streams not related to deposits and lending.

Aside from the battle between small and large banks, the entire traditional banking industry has taken a thorn in the side of late. Non-bank lenders like debt investment funds have been eating some loan-market share.

TheStreet's Jim Cramer wrote in late November 2018 that non-bank lenders have enjoyed about 50% of the U.S. mortgage market since the Great Recession.

JPMorgan and Citigroup are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells these? Learn more now.

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