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The big get bigger, the small get snuffed

September 16, 2013

The five biggest U.S. banks hold 52 percent of the market, triple what they held in 1970. Small banks are disappearing.

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It's time to pick a new chairman for the Federal Reserve, and Larry Summers, who looked to be the frontrunner, has withdrawn his candidacy. The lawmakers who would have had to approve Summers have expressed reservations about his leadership style and role in the policy that may have caused the last financial crisis - including his support of larger banks. Now that Summers is out of the running, the field is back open, and whoever gets the job will be presiding over a banking system that's bigger on big banks then it ever has been before.

The countrys five largest banking institutions have tripled their market share since 1970 while more than half of all small banks disappeared. In 1970, the five biggest banks held just 17 percent of the market. 12,500 small banks held 46 percent. Fast forward to 2010 and the five biggest institutions held 52 percent of the market. The number of small banks had dwindled to 5,700, and their share was down to 16 percent.

We have a special interactive infographic today that offers more facts and figures. Click on the image above to take it out for a spin. Before you do, see if you can name the countrys five biggest banks. The answer, as identified in 2011 by the Comptroller of the Currency, is in the infographic.

Happy with the state of consumer banking today in the U.S.? Would you change anything? How should the next chairman of the Federal Reserve approach small and community banks? Jump into todays discussion below.