The JP Morgan Chase building on Park Avenue.
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


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



American Express

Ally Financial

Charles Schwab

Fifth Third


Regions Financial

RBS Citizens Financial

BMO Financial

Union Bancal

Northern Trust


M&T Bank


Santander Holdings USA

Discover Financial

Deutsche Bank

BBVA Compass


Huntington Bancshares

Zions Bancorp

NonBank Financial Companies:


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
“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.