US banks that sold insurance during 2008
were generally more profitable than those that had no involvement
in insurance, indicates a study by bancassurance data research firm
Bank Insurance Market Research Group (BIMRG).

The BIMRG’s conclusion was drawn from analysis
of data published by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
covering 7,563 commercial banks and savings banks across all total
asset categories.

Overall median net income for all 7,563 banks
fell from $1.071 million in 2007 to $686,000 in 2008, a decline of
36 percent, noted BIMRG managing director Andrew Singer.

“Nonetheless, the data suggests that pursuing
a diversification strategy – of which insurance brokerage is often
a key part – may have again paid off for banks in 2008,” Singer

“Particularly at a time when banks’
traditional income sources are under pressure, an insurance agency
business can help smooth out earnings and act as a hedge against
interest-rate volatility.”

Specifically, 3,338 banks (44 percent) of all
banks analysed reported some insurance activity in 2008.

Those banks with some insurance activity
reported a median net income of $1.16 million in 2008, which was 69
percent higher than the median for all banks analysed.

In 2007 banks with some insurance activity
achieved median net income 44 percent above the median income of
all banks analysed.

This trend toward higher median net income was
evident in all asset-size categories with the exception of the
largest banks defined as those with assets of $10 billion or

For example, among 470 banks in the
second-largest asset category – $1 billion to $10 billion – those
with some insurance activity in 2008 – about half the total –
scored 23 percent higher in median net income than those with no
insurance activity.

This trend was more pronounced in smaller

For example, in the lowest total asset
category – under $250 million – the median net income of the
representative 5,243 banks was $469,000 in 2008 while among the
2,136 banks with some insurance activity the median net income was
76 percent higher at $825,000.

Overall BIMRG found that in 2008 the key
median ratio of non-interest income to total bank revenues among
all 7,563 banks was 14 percent in 2008 while for banks with some
insurance activity the media ratio was a notably higher 17 percent.
Both ratios were unchanged from 2007.

US market