What became of the biggest players

Monday, December 21, 2009; A06

The Federal Reserve did not prepare some large banking companies to weather the financial crisis. The 10 largest U.S. retail banking companies on the eve of the financial crisis:

1. Citigroup -- The Fed let it gamble beyond its means, allowing the company to circumvent basic regulations requiring banks to hold capital reserves against unexpected losses.

2. Bank of America -- Needed more than $45 billion in federal aid.

3. J.P. Morgan Chase -- Among the healthiest large banks.

4. Wachovia -- The Fed's board unanimously approved Wachovia's 2006 application to buy Golden West, a mortgage lender deeply engaged in high-risk lending.

5. Wells Fargo -- Just a few bumps and bruises.

6. U.S. Bancorp -- Perhaps the healthiest large bank.

7. SunTrust Bank -- Hasn't made a profit since crisis began.

8. Capital One Financial -- Strong enough to buy Chevy Chase Bank.

9. National City -- Fed officials repeatedly gave the company clean bills of health even as losses on its vast portfolio of subprime loans started to pile up.

10. Regions Financial -- Mired in real estate lending losses.

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