We have seen many analysts bemoan the demise of the banking industry as they witness lost market share on both the asset and liability side to the category killer competitors and foreign companies. One of the important ways in which banks have been combating the assault on their share is by activities which do not appear on the balance sheet.

I'm not referring to the D-word (derivatives) but to the myriad activities which banks conduct of balance sheets which create value to their customers and to their shareholders, which do not appear anywhere on the balance sheet itself. While total assets have traditionally provided an accurate, simple, and easily available measure of banking activity, that approach does not fully capture the scope of banks' role as financial intermediaries in today's environment.

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