Monday, September 12, 2011

More on banks....

My prior post today referenced banks and their seeming arrogance in assuming that they're the only ones who can provide financing to small businesses and individuals. Maybe their arrogance stems simply from their ever-increasing size, which Barry Ritholtz was so kind to point out in this infographic originally posted by Mother Jones.

It shows an amazing accumulation of financial power in just the last 20 years, a consolidation that was completely unslowed (and in fact accelerated) by the financial crisis of 2007-08 and neverending cries of "Too Big To Fail".

Take that dynamic for what it's worth, but yes, we really do only have four American banks left of any real import. As Mother Jones points out, in 1990, the nation's 10 largest financial institutions held only 20% of our nation's total financial assets. They now hold 54%. The total number of banks has dropped precipitously in that period, from roughly 12,500 to fewer than 8,000. Too big to fail, indeed.

[Mother Jones]
(h/t Barry Ritholtz)

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