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Withdrawn: $114 Billion From Big U.S. Banks

Deposits fell the most since the week after the Sept. 11 attacks. Why is unclear.
A Wells Fargo branch on San Francisco's Market Street
A Wells Fargo branch on San Francisco's Market StreetPhotograph by Noah Berger/Bloomberg

More than $114 billion exited the biggest U.S. banks this month, and nobody’s quite sure why.

The Federal Reserve releases data on the assets and liabilities of commercial banks every Friday. The most current figures, covering the first full week of 2013, show the largest one-week withdrawals since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Even when seasonally adjusted, the level drops to $52.8 billion—still the third-highest amount on record, and one for which bank experts and analysts were reluctant to give a definitive explanation.