Ever Upward: The Bank 50 Continues its Steady Climb

by Monitor Staff August 2019

In a remarkable year in which the Monitor 100 companies blew past the $500 billion-dollar mark in net assets, Monitor’s Bank 50 followed suit with a solid 5.5% in annual net asset growth. Banc of America Leasing retained its perennial position as No. 1 in net assets, but thanks to a 7.1% year-over-year increase in new business volume Wells Fargo Equipment Finance came through to steal the originations crown.

Monitor Staff,
Contributing Writers,

Monitor’s Top Bank 50 continued down the path of solid growth in 2018, amassing $277.9 billion in net assets, up $14.4 billion (5.5%) year over year. As for volume, after a remarkable rebound of nearly 7% annual growth in 2017, the Bank 50 reported more modest gains in 2018. With a 2.2%, or $2.1 billion, year-over-year increase, the banks amassed a collective $94.3 billion in 2018 originations.


Banc of America Leasing once again dominated the asset ranking, reporting $53.1 billion in net assets in 2018, up $1.5 billion (2.8%) from its 2017 total. Wells Fargo Equipment Finance maintained its No. 2 position, but experienced a 1.9% decline, finishing $908 million lower than 2017. However, Wells Fargo siezed the top spot in volume, with its 7.1% growth rate crushing Banc of America’s all but flat 0.7% increase. Several top players experienced some reshuffling, as PNC Equipment Finance and CIT Group traded their positions from last year, with PNC regaining the No. 3 position after three years with a reported $16.2 billion in assets.

U.S. Bank Overview

According to data from the FDIC Quarterly Banking Profile for Q4/18, net income from full-year 2018 totaled $236.7 billion, up $71.9 billion or 43.6% from full-year 2017. The FDIC attributed this increase to higher net operating revenue and lower income tax expenses resulting from tax reform in 2017.

Banks’ net operating revenue rose by 7%, or $53.1 billion; net interest income increased by 8.1%, or $10.5 billion, and noninterest income was up 2.6%, or $1.6 billion. The average net interest margin (NIM) rose from 3.25% in 2017 to 3.40% in 2018.

Loan and lease balances increased by 6.5% on a year-over-year basis, bringing the 2018 total to $1.6 trillion. Commercial and industrial (C&I) loans grew by $16.9 billion (8.3%).

Top Bank 50 — Rankings

Monitor’s Bank 50 once again broke its previous record with combined net assets of $277.9 million. Forty-one banks reported a year-over-year increases of $17.3 billion, while nine banks posted net declines of $2.9 billion. BB&T Equipment Finance posted the largest dollar gain of $2.1 billion, helping it jump eight slots to the No. 10 position. Meanwhile, despite its success on the volume charts, Wells Fargo experienced the largest dollar decrease, with net assets down $908 million year over year.

The Top Five

Banc of America kept its healthy lead with $53.1 billion in net assets, up 2.8% year over year. With 2.3% growth in 2017, BofA continues a consistent upward trajectory. At No. 2, Wells Fargo’s net assets were once again down from the previous year, this time by 1.9%. Despite this modest drop, Wells ended the year with $48.2 billion in net assets. PNC reclaimed the No. 3 position with a gain of $833 million, or 5.4%, year over year. CIT Group, meanwhile, slipped slightly to the No. 4 slot, with reported 2018 assets of $15.4 billion, down $225 million (1.4%) from the previous year. Like PNC, BMO Financial Group also regained a higher rank it commanded in the past, rejoining the top five and finishing 2018 with $12.7 billion in net assets, an increase of 15.7%. This allowed it to leapfrog over Key Equipment Finance and U.S. Bank Equipment Finance, which slipped to No. 6 and No. 7, respectively.

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