How many banks are in the US? Number of US banks shrinks while banking assets increase.

Do you ever wonder how many banks are active in the United States?  Do you ever think about the amount of assets held at these banks?  More people today have taken a thorough desire at learning the details about their banking system and this is for the better.  US banks are backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC for short.  What is surprising since the financial crisis hit is that the total asset base of banks has increased while the number of US banks has actually decreased.  One of the big issues was around the too big to fail banks of our current banking system.  Much of the banking wealth is aggregated into a few large banks.  Not much has changed to reverse the too big to fail model.  To the contrary these too big to fail banks have gotten even bigger.  So how many banks are in the US?

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How many banks are in the US?

To find the current figure on banking data we can head over to the FDIC site and pull up a few charts.  The first chart will look at the total number of US banks:
number of us banks

Source:  FDIC

The number of FDIC insured banks is under 7,500.  The trend has moved in one direction since 1995.  It is surprising to many Americans that even prior to the Great Depression, the US had over 20,000 active banks.  The consolidation of banking into a few larger banks is a long-term trend.

While the overall total number of banks has shrunk, the total asset base has increased:

assets of savings institutions

US banks have roughly $14 trillion in total assets.  The term asset is used loosely because many of these banks have real estate loans that are valued significantly lower than their current book value.  In accounting you are taught to mark-to-market values to get an accurate picture of your true holdings but this rule was suspended during this crisis.

The rise of problem institutions is still very high for US banks.

problem bank list

While much of the current data seems to pointing at more jobs, there are still a number of banks in deep trouble.  Keep in mind that US banks need to keep certain capital requirements just to stay compliant.  A recent stress test done by the government found that four large banks failed the actual test.

How many banks are in the US?  The total number is 7,357.

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