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Definitions of Banking Terms

The process of buying or acquiring some asset or an entire company.

This consists of the primary banking activity of an institution. For example, the primary activity of state member banks, non-member banks, and national banks (which are all commercial banks) is Commercial Banking.

As of Date
This represents a report date or transaction date.

Bank Insurance Fund (BIF) see Insurance

The fund that provides deposit insurance for commercial banks. It is administered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Bank Holding Companies Performance Report (BHCPR)

An analytical tool produced by the Federal Reserve System for supervisory purposes, including on-site examinations and inspections, off-site surveillance and monitoring, and analyses performed in connection with applications filed with the Federal Reserve regarding mergers, acquisitions, and other matters. The BHCPRs are designed to assist analysts and examiners in determining a bank holding companyís financial condition and performance based on financial statements, comparative ratios, trend analyses, and percentile ranks relative to its peers.

Branch Locator
A search option that provides a comprehensive list of all branches belonging to an institution. Not all banks will have branches therefore, the option will only be available to those that do.

Branch Office
An office of an institution that is physically separated from its home office, but that offers the same kinds of deposit taking, loan and other services conducted at the home office.

Charter (Chartering Authority)

A state or federal agency that grants charters to new depository institutions. For state chartered institutions, the chartering authority is usually the state banking department; for national banks, it is the OCC; and for federal savings institutions, it is the Office of Thrift Supervision.

Closed Bank
When an institution's charter is closed and there is no successor institution.

Failed Bank (failure)
The closing of a financial institution by its chartering authority, which rescinds the institutionís charter and revokes its ability to conduct business because the institution is insolvent, critically undercapitalized, or unable to meet deposit outflows.

FDIC Certificate Number
A unique number assigned by the FDIC used to identify institutions and for the issuance of insurance certificates.

Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC)
Interagency body composed of representatives from the five regulatory agencies responsible for U.S. depository institutions.

Head Office

The headquarters of the entity, i.e., the head office of a branch, agency, or other non-independent facility.

Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) Respondents

Certain financial institutions, including banks, savings associations, credit unions, and other mortgage lending institutions that provide public loan data in accordance with the Home Mortgage Discloser Act, which was enacted by Congress in 1975.

Institution Profile
Provides detailed characteristic information about an institution. Characteristic information includes attributes such as Institution type, Location, and Primary Federal Regulator and Structure information such as Organization Hierarchy, Institutions Acquired, Institution History, and Branch Locator.

Institutions Acquired
These are institutions that were acquired by other institutions.

Institution History
A description of an institution's characteristic and structure information over time.

Institution Type
A classification describing the activities of the institution. NIC also provides a glossary of Institution Types.


  • Bank Insurance Fund (BIF) is the insurance fund for insured banks.
  • Savings Association Insurance Fund (SAIF) is the insurance fund for insured savings associations.
  • BIF and SAIF are managed by the FDIC

The consolidation of two or more institutions into a single entity. Generally the survivor is the institution that remains in business following the merger, whereas the institution that ceases to exist is the non-survivor. There may be more than one non-survivor for any given merger.

Mortgage Banking Company
Company that makes, acquires, or services loans or other extensions of credit for the account of others.

Mutual Fund
Fund that pools money from its shareholders in stocks, bonds, government securities, and short-term money market instruments.

National Information Center
The National Information Center (NIC) is a central data repository containing information about all U.S. banking organizations and their domestic and foreign affiliates, as well as information on foreign banking organizations located in the U.S.

Organization Hierarchy
The ownership relationships of institutions. The institution may be the top tier or anywhere within the organization hierarchy.

Parent Institution
The Parent Institution owns or controls another institution.

Purchase and Assumption
A Purchase and Assumption (P&A) is a transaction in which an institution purchases assets and liabilities of another institution. This transaction results in a major change to the seller's primary business. The seller's charter may or may not continue.

Federal Banking Agencies that supervise banks and other financial institutions depending on each institutionís specific charter or mission. The five federal regulators are as follows:

  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
  • Federal Reserve System (FRS)
  • National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)
  • Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
  • Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS)

Report Date
This date generally corresponds to the last day of the report period.

Routing Transit Number (RTN)
The RTN is a bank identifier found on the bottom of checks. It is commonly referred to as an ABA (American Bankers Association) number and is nine numerical digits in length.

The RSSD ID is a unique identifier assigned to institutions by the Federal Reserve. While the length of the RSSD ID varies by institution, it cannot exceed 10 numerical digits.

Savings Association Insurance Fund (SAIF) see Insurance
The fund that provides deposit insurance for savings institutions. SAIF was authorized by Congress in 1989 to take over the thrift deposit insurance role held by the former Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC). SAIF is administered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

When one entity (E1) transfers between 40 and 94 percent of its assets to one or more newly formed entities (E2). Both entities continue to exist. E1 has not failed, and government assistance is not involved.


  • Current: institution that is open as of a specified date
  • Non-Current: institution that is closed as of a specified date
  • Current and Non-Current: all institutions that are open or haven been closed as of a specified date

Top 50 BHCs
These are bank holding companies with the largest consolidated total assets and are ranked each quarter on a scale of 1 to 50. The list changes periodically and is often referred to as the "Official Top 50 List."

Top Holder
The highest entity in a multi-level organization.

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