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Big Banks Watch Brokerage Fee Income Rise 28%

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Bank insurance operations did well during the first 3 quarters.[@@]

Total bank insurance brokerage fee income increased to $2.6 billion for the first 3 quarters of the year, up 21% from the total for the first 3 quarters of 2003, according to a study of Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data by Michael White Associates L.L.C., Radnor, Pa.

About 46% of more than 8,000 commercial and savings banks studied had some income from insurance brokerage units, according to Michael White.

Results were especially strong at the biggest banks: Insurance brokerage fee income increased 28%, to $1.9 billion, at banks with more than $10 billion in assets.

Banks in the biggest size category accounted for 73% of U.S. bank insurance brokerage fee income during the first 3 quarters.

Nationally, the ratio of mean insurance brokerage fee income to noninterest income in banks increased to 2.5%. But 4 of the top 15 banks said insurance brokerage fee income amounted to more than 30% of their noninterest income.

Insurance brokerage fee income at the bank insurance leader, Citibank N.A., New York, rose 20%, to $458 million, Michael White says.

Brokerage fee income rose 60%, to $434 million, at the runner-up, BB&T Corp., Winston-Salem, N.C.