Bank holding companies raked in $118.4 billion in wealth management income in 2011, up 1.35% from $116.9 billion in 2010, according to the just-released Michael White - IPI Bank Wealth Management Report.

The increase comes despite a lackluster fourth quarter in which wealth management income swooned to $26.11 billion, down 17.8% from $31.75 billion the year before and the industry's weakest quarter since the beginning of 2009.

In 2011, banks generated median investment program income of $1,537,500, a 3.5% decline from $1,592,500 in 2010. Of the 532 bank wealth management programs, 418, or 78.6%, earned a minimum of $250,000 in revenue. Of those, 326 grew their wealth management income from 2010, with 180 programs exhibiting double-digit growth rates.

The top three bank holding companies that registered the greatest growth in 2011 were Access National Corporation, Tower Bancorp Inc., and Northwest Financial Corp. Access National boosted wealth management fee income more than ten-fold from $50,000 to $568,000. Tower Bancorp saw a near seven-fold increase, boosting fee income from $547,000 to $3,755,000. And Northwest Financial quadrupled its fee income from $401,000 to $1,697,000.

"The fact that so many banks and bank holding companies registered growth in their wealth management revenue and have begun to expand further into the business underscores the tremendous opportunity wealth management presents to financial institutions," Jay McAnelly, president of Investment Professionals, Inc., the sponsor of the report, said in an announcement.

Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America were the wealth management income leaders among bank holding companies with more than $10 billion in assets. Stifel Financial Corp., Boston Private Financial Holdings and Plains Capital Corp. led bank holding companies with $1 billion to $10 billion in assets, and First National Bankers Bankshares, United Bankers' Bancorp. and First Bankers Trustshares led those with $500 million to $1 billion in assets. The wealth management income leaders among small banks - those with less than $500 million in assets - were The Haverford Trust Company, Essex Savings Bank, and Soy Capital Bank and Trust Company.

Investment advisory/banking services were the largest contributor to wealth management income, bringing in $44.41 billion in 2011. The next biggest contributors were securities brokerage and fiduciary activities, which generated $36.8 billion and $34.36 billion in income, respectively. Annuities generated $2.79 billion, up 9.3% from $2.55 billion in 2010.

The report was compiled by research firm Michael White Associates. The results are based on data from 6,679 commercial banks and 929 bank holding companies operating on Dec. 31, 2011.