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The Big 4 US Banks

The Breakdown America's Banking Giants


The term Big 4 within the banking industry refers to the four largest banks within the United States: Bank of America, Chase, Citi and Wells Fargo. With each bank holding assets in the low trillions, these institutions serve the majority of personal and business account holders in the US. Educating yourself on a bank's fundamentals help you make better choices in banking. And after all, you'll probably be doing business with one (or several) of the Big 4 in the future.


1. Bank of America

Woman writing check at bank counter, rear view
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Bank of America has come a long way since the early 1900s, moving from a California saloon to a skyscraper on 6th Ave. Though some may argue the bank hasn't lost certain saloon-style tactics, it's one of the most recognizable brands in banking. The bank's recent success seems to be a combination of numerous locations and anticipating trends. Oh, and merging with a little brokerage firm called Merrill Lynch. That helped too. 

2. Chase

Big 4 -- Chase Bank
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The Chase Bank (formally referred to as JP Morgan & Chase) of today's Big 4 is the resulting offspring of a merger between JP Morgan and Chase Manhattan Bank in 2000. Like many larger banks, Chase seems to have a penchant for mergers, snapping up Chemical Bank, Bank One, the Bank of Chicago, Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual along the path to success. 

3. Citi

Big 4 -- Citi
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When it comes to location globally, Citi holds the winning hand. The bank's locations span over 125 countries, making it the largest financial entity in the world. Citigroup's product lines all carry the "Citi-" prefix, making them easy to identify.  There's CitiMortgage, CitiCards, CitiFinancial, CitiCapital, Citi Investment Research-- well, you get the idea.

4. Wells Fargo

Big 4 - Wells Fargo
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Wells Fargo claims to serve one in every three US households through at least one of its business lines. If you consider all the bank's insurance, banking and investment products, it's not hard to believe. Back in 1995, when we were all cranking up our dial-up modems to use Netscape, Wells Fargo was the first bank to offer clients internet access to bank accounts. Wells Fargo is the most recent inductee to the Big 4.

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