Bank of America Corp (BAC), American International Group Inc (AIG): 10 Shocking and Overlooked Comparisons (in Graphs!)

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Investors often view the financial sector is as a black hole of sorts. Banks, mortgage lenders, insurers, and hedge funds are constantly lumped together and referred to as if they were one overly complex and unintelligible mass.

While many of these entities are interconnected and dabble in similar areas, it’s important to investors to understand the vast differences and the quick changes that can occur, seemingly in the blink of an eye.

With that in mind, here are 10 graphical representations of some astonishing and overlooked comparisons involving banks, insurers, real estate, and more.

1. Unforeseen circumstances

Source: Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) annual reports.

In 2006, pre-Countrywide acquisition, Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) was considered one of nation’s strongest financial institutions. Little did management and shareholders know that the Countrywide acquisition would ultimately lead to massive legal settlements and liquidity uncertainty as a result of “representations and warranties” made on the droves of questionable mortgages Countrywide had written for years.

2. Sign of commitment

*Includes legacy companies acquired via merger or acquisition.

If you have dreams of running one of the nation’s largest banks one day, you’d better be working for one of them now. All of the executives steering the biggest banking ships have vast experience in the industry and at their specific company.

3. From footnote to flat-out scary

Source: AIG annual reports

Much like Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) shareholders, those holding American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG) stock were blindsided by an issue seldom covered in years prior. American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG) shareholders were crushed by the massive losses incurred as a result of the company’s risky credit default swap portfolio.

4. From hero to zero

Source: S&P Capital IQ

The 2008 collapse of Lehman Brother is well documented. But a few details are often overlooked — for the full 2007 fiscal year, Lehman Brothers reported its highest ever net income of more than $4 billion.

5. Vast opportunity


To the average American, having plastic in one’s wallet and purse is nothing new, but internationally, the story looks much different. While the U.S. continues to move away from a cash-centric society, other countries, such as India, have yet to follow suit and offer enormous, long-term potential for the likes of MasterCard and Visa.

6. Big 4 with big differences

Source: Company earnings reports.

The largest four U.S. banks are continually lumped together and referred to as if they were all identical businesses. However, the differences between them can be vast. In the most recent quarterly results, only 43% of revenue at Citicorp (Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C)‘s core operations, excluding Citi Holdings) was booked in North America. On the other hand, Wells Fargo didn’t call out any international revenue.

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