The Top 10 Fastest-Growing Banks In America

The five largest banks in America may hold 45% of the industry’s total assets, but the other more than 6,500 US banks have been growing business much faster. Community banks alone have been growing about six times faster on average.

As I mentioned in my last post on the five largest US banks, the Megabanks have been plagued by the near-zero interest-rate environment, heavy lawsuits stemming from the financial crisis, and shrinking mortgage businesses as fewer consumers are refinancing. The two Megabanks that reported any revenue growth in 2014 were Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp, which grew by a paltry 0.34% and 1.58%, respectively. Profit growth was disappointing as well, with the exception of JPMorgan Chase’s results.

Meanwhile, community banks in the US have been outperforming these large banks by as much as 600% in terms of revenue growth. Thanks to booming loan growth (spanning from mortgages to construction and small business loans), the roughly 6,100 institutions that the FDIC considers “community banks” grew their top lines by more than 6% on average in 2014, while their profits rose by more than 9%, according to the FDIC’s latestCommunity Bank Performance report.

But enough about the averages. Which banks in the US grew the fastest?

While it’s difficult to find publicly available data for the vast market of privately held banks, I was able to use Hoover’s Build-A-List tool to track more than 700 US banks that reported financial data on our Dun & Bradstreet database. Narrowing down the list, I found 357 banks that reported revenue growth in 2014, and 171 banks that grew their revenues by more than 6% in 2014 (outperforming the industry average).

And as you can see in the table below, the top 10 fastest-growing US banks managed to grow their annual revenue by a scorching 60% or more in 2014. (Note: I’ve also included employee count and growth as another measure for growth.)

The Top 10 Fastest-Growing Banks In America (2014)

Bank Assets ($M) Revenue Growth Revenue ($M) Employee Growth Employee Count
Santander Holdings USA 118,457 252% 11,919.2 54% 14,000
Howard Bank 691 145% 46.6 114% 218
Pacwest Bancorp 16,235 138% 746.9 30% 1,443
Bear State Financial 1,515 121% 52.5 123% 423
BBX Capital 393 90% 92.6 38% 506
Umpqua Holdings 22,613 78% 1,001.8 83% 4,569
Yadkin Financial 4,266 76% 163.5 73% 882
Heritage Financial 3,458 70% 137.6 101% 748
Peoples Financial Services 1,742 61% 79.2 354
Union Bankshares 7,359 59% 336.2 44% 1,471

Source: Hoover’s Build-A-List, Dun & Bradstreet

While the large bank holding company Santander Holdings USA managed to grow the fastest in 2014, the majority of the banks on the list (seven) held assets of less than $7.4 billion — showing that community banks and smaller bank-holding companies can be surprisingly successful, even in today’s low-interest-rate environment. And nine banks on the list boosted their employee ranks by 30% or more, a testament to their confidence in growing in the future. Finally, while I didn’t include profit on this table (as growth-oriented companies are more revenue-focused), all but one (BBX Capital Corp.) enjoyed profit growth, including five that grew their bottom lines by triple-digits.

Want to screen your own bank prospect targets like this? Take a look at the Hoover’s Build-A-List tool. The easy-to-use software lets you screen through more than 434,230 banks worldwide (and more than 90 million companies overall) and allows you to narrow your search by geography, employee count, growth, and dozens of other variables that give prospectors the tools they need to be highly effective. Check out their video to see how it works.