Deposits of the 16 commercial banks based in the District of Columbia soared 14 per cent last year to a record $4.945 billion, according to a survey last week by The Washington Post.

The rate of deposit growth was the most rapid since the local boom years of the 1960s. In three previous years of recession and local economic stagnation, the D.C. deposit total rose at annual rates of 6 or 7 per cent. Most of the gains represent more aggressive marketing by the city's banks for both commercial and consumer business, bank officers said.

Although all but three institutions reported deposit growth over the past 12 months, it was clear from the figures that the biggest banks are experiencing the most rapid gains in business.

No. 1 Riggs National reported that deposits rose to a record $1.74 billion from $1.46 billion a year earlier. American Security Bank rose to $1.29 billion from $1.15 billion; National Bank of Washington rose to $463 million from $432 million; and National Savings & Trust Co. rose to $340 million from $309 million.

Two minority banks also reported substantial gains - Industrial to $50 million from $38 million and United National to $31 million from $23 million.

Declines were posted by American Indian National, McLachlen and National Capital banks.