Large, top-tier bank holding companies generated $11.8 billion in insurance brokerage fee income in 2008, down 3.6% from $12.3 billion in 2007.

More than 66% of large bank holding companies, and 93% of the very biggest bank holding companies, generated income from insurance brokerage operations last year, according to Michael White Associates, Radnor Pa.

Most of the decline was due to a drop in insurance business at the biggest bank holding companies, MWA reports.

Bank holding companies with assets greater than $10 billion saw insurance brokerage income decline 4.2%, to $11.1 billion in 2008, from $11.6 billion in 2007.

Bank holding companies with less than $10 billion in assets reported an increase in income at their insurance brokerage operations. At those companies, insurance brokerage business increased 6.3%, to about $731 million in 2008, from $688 million in 2007, MWA reports.

Bank holding companies with assets between $1 billion and $10 billion performed best, increasing their insurance brokerage fees to $586 million in 2008, up 8.4% from $540 million in 2007.

The MWC totals do not include MetLife Inc., New York, because that company’s bank does a relatively limited amount of banking business.