Bank holding companies earned a record $7.7 billion in insurance brokerage fee income in 2011, up 9.1% from the previous year, according to Michael White Associates, a bank insurance consulting firm based in Radnor, Pa.

While insurance brokerage income was up for the year, it slowed in the fourth quarter to $1.81 billion. That was down 9.7% from the previous quarter and 5.3% from the year-ago period. Nevertheless, fourth-quarter 2011 revenue was the second highest of any fourth quarter, the report said.

“In 2011, we saw real progress in the number of bank holding companies committed to insurance brokerage that expanded their insurance revenues,” Michael White, president of Michael White Associates, said in statement.

Bank holding companies with more than $10 billion in assets won the greatest share of the insurance brokerage income, earning $6.96 billion, up 10.1% from a year earlier.  Citigroup Inc. topped the leader board with insurance brokerage earnings of $2.14 billion. Wells Fargo & Co. ranked second nationally with $1.62 billion, and BB&T Corp. ranked third with $935.1 million.

Bank holding companies with assets between $1 billion and $10 billion earned $606.6 million in insurance brokerage income in 2011, a 3.4% increase from the previous year. The top five were Eastern Bank Corp., Stifel Financial Corp., Old National Bancorp, Trustmark Corp. and Johnson Financial Group.

Smaller banks, however, didn’t fare as well for the year. Bank holding companies with assets between $500 million and $1 billion saw their insurance brokerage income fall 9.7% in 2011. And the smallest community banks with assets less than $500 million registered a decline of 8.4% in insurance brokerage income, dropping to $165.5 million in 2011.

The report, sponsored by Prudential Insurance Co., is based on data from all 6,679 savings banks and 930 bank holding companies.