The Big 4 US Banks: Your Guide to Banking in the United States

Big banks offer the kind of stability and reliability you may want from an institution handling your money

the big 4 us banks

The banking industry has existed as long as there has been some sort of money trade. The industry handles cash, credit, loans, and many other financial transactions.

Banks are a safe location in order to store cash and credit. Savings accounts, certificates of deposit, and checking accounts are just some of the services offered by banks.

The deposits people make are then used by banks to make loans which can be for home mortgages, car loans, business loans, and personal loans. 

If one thinks of the economy, one cannot deny the importance of banking in it, especially in the United States.

This is why the United States has some of the biggest banks in the world.

In fact, when we think of banks, we often remember the big 4 US banks, sometimes referred to as “the big four.”

Today, we’ll take a look at the big 4 US banks and the largest banks in the US.

How Does Banking Work?

Banks are a safe and secure place where you can place your money.

Through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the FDIC, your deposit is also insured should something happen to it.

Banks also pay people who deposit into a savings account a small percent of the deposited amount based on an interest rate. 

Banks generally do not need to keep a percentage of the deposit on hand as long as they are able to return the money to the depositor if they requested.

This is under the current regulation of the Federal Reserve and is called the reserve requirement.

These banks make money by charging higher interest rates on loans than for the interest on deposits which in essence defines banking as an industry. 

Types of Banks in the US

the big 4 us banks

There are several banking types in the US that vary on the kind of business they conduct and their audience. These are the ones commonly found in the US:

  • Commercial and retail banks are the most common that offer services to both private individuals and businesses.
  • Community banks, or also known as rural banks, provide services to a local community or rural area and are usually concerned more with the development of the local region.
  • Internet or Online banks are usually extensions of commercial banks but some are online-only banks and provide a wide variety of online banking services.
  • Savings and Loan banks were created specifically for affordable homeownership.
  • Credit unions are banking services owned and run by their own customers and offer services to only their members. It runs like a cooperative run by maybe people of a certain profession or employees of a company.  
  • Investment Banking is like commercial banks but is focused on investment choices. They often find funds through initial public stock offerings. The big 4 US banks and the largest banks in the US are often also investment banks such as Bank of America and J.P.Morgan Chase & Co.

The Big 4 and the Largest Banks in the US

the big 4 us banks

As mentioned earlier, the big four actually refers to the top four biggest banks in the United States.

They are J.P.Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citibank (Citigroup Inc.).

These are some of the longest standing banks and hold a huge portion of the personal and business accounts in the United States.

In fact, the four banks collectively hold 45% of all deposits in the United States totaling around $4.6 trillion dollars. 

But as you can see, they don’t hold the entire portion of US holdings.

Many other large banks also have a stake in the banking industry with easily each of them holding billions worth of assets.

They are considered big banks that are touted as too big to fail.

We’ve compiled a list of the biggest banks in the US and see which of the biggest bankers you can trust with your money. 

1. J.P.Morgan Chase & Co.

Total customer deposits: $1.56 trillion

Total assets: $2.68 trillion

Headquarters: New York, NY

2. Bank of America Corp.

Total customer deposits: $1.43 trillion

Total assets: $2.43 trillion

Headquarters: New York, NY

3. Wells Fargo & Co.

Total customer deposits: $1.32 trillion

Total assets: $1.92 trillion

Headquarters: San Francisco, CA

4. Citigroup Inc.

Total customer deposits: $1.07 trillion

Total assets: $1.95 trillion

Headquarters: New York, NY

5. Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Total customer deposits: $190 billion

Total assets: $992 billion

Headquarters: New York, NY

6. Morgan Stanley

Total customer deposits: $190 billion

Total assets: $895 billion

Headquarters: New York, NY

7. U.S. Bancorp

Total customer deposits: $346 billion

Total assets: $475 billion

Headquarters: Minneapolis, MN

8. TD Group US Holdings LLC

Total customer deposits: $886 billion

Total assets: $1.41 trillion

Headquarters: Cherry Hill, NJ

9. PNC Financial Services Group Inc.

Total customer deposits: $288 billion

Total assets: $410 billion

Headquarters: Pittsburgh, PA

10. Bank of New York Mellon Corp.

Total customer deposits: $259 billion

Total assets: $381 billion

Headquarters: New York, NY

11. Capital One Financial Corp.

Total customer deposits: $262 billion

Total assets: $390 billion

Headquarters: McLean, VA

12. State Street Corp.

Total customer deposits: $181 billion

Total assets: $245 billion

Headquarters: Boston, MA

13. Branch Banking & Trust Corp.

Total customer deposits ($ millions): $167

Total assets: $221.64 billion

Headquarters: Winston-Salem, NC

14. SunTrust Banks Inc.

Total customer deposits ($ millions): $165

Total assets: $205.96 billion

Headquarters: Atlanta, GA

15. HSBC USA Inc.

Total customer deposits ($ millions): $119 

Total assets: $175 billion

Headquarters: New York, NY

the big 4 us banks

Final Thoughts

Remember that big banks are not your only options when it comes to banking.

If you’re not a big fan of supporting big corporations, there are smaller institutions available as well and if you’re not into going to big banks, you can try those local or community banks and credit unions in the area.

These banks are often community-minded so you may get more of a personal touch compared to corporate banks like the one we listed above.

Do remember that bigger banks are often seen as more stable than small community banks and sometimes you won’t get as many options or services available.

You also have the option to try out online banks that may deliver the kind of services that you are looking for at lower interest rates and fees.

At the end of the day, let’s remember that banks offer a variety of services whether they are part of the big 4 US banks or not.

Big banks offer the kind of stability and reliability you may want from an institution handling your money.

However, smaller banks and online banks may also offer a variety of services and a personal touch you won’t get from the big 4 US banks or any of the big bankers available. 


Author: John Benares

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