The Size Distribution of US Banks and Credit Unions

John Goddard, Hong Liu, Donal McKillop, John O. S. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the firm size distribution of US banks and credit unions. A truncated lognormal distribution describes the size distribution, measured using assets data, of a large population of small, community-based commercial banks. The size distribution of a smaller but increasingly dominant cohort of large banks, which operate a high-volume low-cost retail banking model, exhibits power-law behaviour. There is a progressive increase in skewness over time, and Zipf’s Law is rejected as a descriptor of the size distribution in the upper tail. By contrast, the asset size distribution of the population of credit unions conforms closely to the lognormal distribution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-156
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of the Economics of Business
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


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