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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How 37 Financial Institutions Became Four (Graph)

This wonderful graph, which was originally shared by Lucas Rohenaz, has floated around the net for the last month or so.  It has been shared on Facebook alone nearly 13,000 times.  It shows how, since 1990, 37 financial institutions have merged into the four largest banks in the nation: Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

The most egregious of the Wall Street offenders is Bank of America, taking over twelve other banks in the course of the last two decades.  I worked for BofA in 1993, shortly after their buyout of Security Pacific Bank.  I was also employed by Chase Manhattan Bank (now JPMorgan Chase), shorly after their merger with Chemical bank in 1997.

Mergers are messy.  They are tumultuous for both customers and employees alike.  Upper management rarely gives a shit.  As long as stock value continues to rise, their yearly bonus increases as well.

Below is a clear example of why people are demonstrating in more than 80 cities nationwide.   These four corporations effectively control 40% of the nation's economy.  If that is not a motivation for action, I don't know what is.