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Top 50 US Banks And Thrifts By Assets

By Aarti Kanjani, SNL Financial

SNL Financial's most recent ranking of the largest 50 banks and thrifts in the U.S. reveals some minor movements. The top seven held firm to the same spots in the first quarter as in the fourth quarter of 2012, with JPMorgan Chase & Co. clinging to the No. 1 position.

Again, JPMorgan and Bank of America Corp. remained the only companies with more than $2 trillion in assets, and - along with No. 4 Wells Fargo & Co. - the only companies with more than $1 trillion in deposits.

The largest jumps in the top 50 included Chicago-based BMO Financial Corp., moving up to No. 19 from No. 21, and Pasadena, Calif.-based East West Bancorp Inc., jumping to No. 48 from No. 50. BMO Financial's assets rose to $122.36 billion from $116.11 billion, while East West Bancorp's assets jumped to $23.10 billion from $22.54 billion.

The biggest downward movement was by Birmingham, Ala.-based Regions Financial Corp., dropping to No. 22 from No. 20, as its assets fell to $118.72 billion from 121.35 billion.

SNL's ranking by assets is pro forma for pending M&A deals and transactions that have closed since March 31.

Akron, Ohio-based FirstMerit Corp. - which had entered the rankings at No. 46 in the third quarter of 2012 due to its announced acquisition of Flint, Mich.-based Citizens Republic Bancorp Inc. - remained at the same position in the fourth quarter of 2012 and jumped one position to No. 45 in the first quarter. The ranking is based on Citizens Republic's $9.59 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2012, and FirstMerit's $15.27 billion in assets as of March 31. The deal was completed April 12.

Buffalo, N.Y.-based M&T Bank Corp., which rose to the 17th spot in the second quarter of 2012 with its announced $3.81 billion acquisition of Hudson City Bancorp Inc. on Aug. 27 of that year, fell to No. 18 in the fourth quarter of 2012 and remained at the same position in the first quarter. M&T's new ranking is based on a combination of its $82.81 billion in assets and Hudson City's $40.29 billion in assets as of March 31. The asset size has not been adjusted to reflect M&T's intent to pay down approximately $12 billion of Hudson City's long-term borrowings by liquidating its comparably sized investment portfolio. It is the third-largest merger by deal value since 2010, and the companies have delayed the closing date due to regulatory concerns.

St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Raymond James Financial Inc. just cracked the rankings at No. 50 and became the sole newcomer to the list, after dropping off the list in the second quarter of 2012. Its assets increased to $22.74 billion from $22.28 billion in the previous quarter. San Antonio-based Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc., which joined the list in the third quarter of 2012, fell short and dropped from the top 50 in the first quarter, as its assets fell to $22.50 billion from $23.12 billion.

SNL excludes holding companies with deposits totaling less than 25% of assets from the ranking, which means that some large firms regulated as bank holding companies, such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc., General Electric Capital Corp. and Morgan Stanley, are not ranked.

A number of ranked companies recently announced noteworthy specialty finance asset deals. Although these deals met SNL's threshold for calculating a pro forma ranking, there was not enough disclosure to make adjustments. Those deals are: Bank of America's Jan. 6 announcement to sell a residential mortgage servicing rights portfolio, with $215.0 billion in receivables; Citigroup Inc.'s Feb. 19 announcement regarding the acquisition of credit card receivables from Capital One Financial Corp., with $7.0 billion in receivables; Popular Inc.'s May 6 announced sale of nonperforming residential mortgage loans, with $595.0 million in receivables; and HSBC Holdings Plc's sale of a portfolio of consumer loans completed April 1.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.