As MetLife prepares for its lawsuit against the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which has labeled the life insurer a systematically important financial institution (SIFI), an examination of the financial impact of MetLife’s counterparts in the banking sector should prove a useful exercise.
By almost any measure, that impact is huge. As indicated in the infographic below, a 2012 report of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that U.S. economic losses connected with the 2007-2009 credit crisis could exceed $10 trillion. Homeowner losses were nearly as great: $9 trillion in equity.
Collectively, the five largest U.S. financial institutions — JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs — account also for $9 trillion in assets. The biggest of them, JP Morgan Chase, paid between $22 billion and $25 billion — more than the total assets (less than $20 billion) of 99.1 percent of the banks chartered in the U.S.)