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Who's too big to fail?

The JP Morgan Chase building on Park Avenue.

**UPDATE (Sept. 20): Prudential Financial has been officially designated as too big to fail.

“Too Big To Fail” is the vernacular for “Systemically Important Financial Institution,” or SIFI. The financial crisis spawned both phrases, and Dodd-Frank enshrined SIFI into law.

SIFIs are companies whose demise could threaten the greater economy. Under Dodd-Frank, they are subjected to stricter regulatory monitoring than their smaller, less systemically important counterparts. Any bank holding company in the U.S. with at least $50 billion in assets is automatically a SIFI. Currently, 36 U.S. and foreign banks are on the list.

But Dodd-Frank also created the Financial Risk Oversight Council, tasked with identifying emerging threats to the economy and designating nonbank financial companies that are too big to fail. General Electric Capital and American International Group, the giant insurer that was bailed out a day after Lehman Brothers failed, were added to the list in July. In addition, FSOC has named eight financial market utilities, such as companies that are clearing houses for securities transactions, as SIFIs.

Want to know who made the too-big-to-fail list? Read below:

Bank Holding Companies (by asset size*):

JPMorgan Chase
Bank of America
Citigroup
Wells Fargo
Goldman Sachs
Morgan Stanley
Bank of New York Mellon
U.S. Bancorp
HSBC North America
PNC Financial Services
Capital One Finance
TD Bank
State Street
Principal Financial
BB&T
SunTrust
American Express
Ally Financial
Charles Schwab
Fifth Third
USAA
Regions Financial
RBS Citizens Financial
BMO Financial
Union Bancal
Northern Trust
KeyCorp
M&T Bank
Bancwest
Santander Holdings USA
Discover Financial
Deutsche Bank
BBVA Compass
Comerica
Huntington Bancshares
Zions Bancorp

NonBank Financial Companies:
AIG
General Electric Capital
Prudential Financial **(added Sept. 20, 2013)
Metlife (in the designation process)

Financial Market Utilities:
Clearing House Payments
CLS Bank International
Chicago mercantile Exchange
Depository Trust
Fixed Income Clearing
ICE Clear Credit
National Securities Clearing
Options Clearing Corporation

*as of June 30, 2013

Sources: Federal Reserve, Treasury Department

And here, in turn, are the number of banks that have failed in the last five years.


Source: FDIC


Lehman's Legacy: A Timeline Follow the key events before and after the Lehman Brothers collapse, and see how the financial crisis unfolded. Follow the timeline

About the author

Jonathan Karp is a Senior Editor at Marketplace.
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