Among major investment banks, Citigroup Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group have made the biggest strides to deleverage their balance sheets, according to JMP Securities analyst, but Deutsche Bank AG is a "clear laggard" that may be forced to recapitalize.

Leverage is one measure used to examine a company's risk, and too much of it at banks has been cited as the spark that ignited the financial crisis, JMP's Michael Hecht said in a report published Monday. Most banks have acted to reduce debt and build assets in the last year, and to the extent that they succeed or fail, investors can factor in the information to their risk assessments, including any need to recapitalize, the report said.

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