Banking institutions are indispensable to any nation’s economy and financial setup. They provide borrowing/saving opportunities and other important facilities to the general public and corporate entities.
Every year, S&P Global Market Intelligence publishes its annual report on banking and financial services, highlighting the 100 largest banks in the world based on their total assets. For years, U.S based banks have dominated the international financial system, but now the Chinese banks are clearly in the driving seat.
Out of the top 15 largest banks by total assets, four are Chinese and total of six are headquartered in Asia. Only two banks are U.S based. Below is detailed list of the largest banks in the world with their total assets and market capitalization in US dollars. We’ve ranked them according to bank’s total assets (not the market capitalization).
15. Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank Headquarters in Frankfurt
Total Assets: US$ 1,765 billion
Market Capitalization: US$ 25 billion
Deutsche Bank is the largest and most important bank in Germany. The company was established in 1870 in Berlin essentially as a foreign trade bank. From its involvement in the merger of Daimler and Benz to the establishment of Auschwitz concentration camp during the World War II under Hitler’s regime, the bank has been a part of many historically significant events.
It was also largely involved in the 2007-08 financial crisis. Anyway, the company currently has three major divisions; Retail banking, Corporate/investment banking and Asset Management.
Deutsche Bank comes under the bulge bracket; a small group of powerful financial institutions, which enable large scale capital movement around the world and underwrites contracts for extremely large institutions and corporations.
14. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group
Total Assets: US$ 1,775 billion
Market Capitalization: US$ 53 billion
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group or SMFG is the third largest financial services company in Japan. It was established in 2002 after a transfer of controlling shares from Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Corporation.
The company is listed in multiple stock exchange, including Tokyo Stock Exchange, NYSE and National Stock Exchange (India). It provides personal and corporate banking solutions and is also engaged in wealth management and investment management activities.
In 2012, SMFG acquired RBS Aviation Capital; an aircraft leasing division of the Royal Bank of Scotland for $7.3 billion. It was the largest acquisition of any leasing business at that time.
Citigroup Center London Image Courtesy: Matt Buck
Total Assets: US$ 1,842 billion
Market Capitalization: US$ 174 billion
Citigroup Inc. is a U.S based banking powerhouse, which is currently the 4th largest bank in the country by assets and has more than 200 million retail customers in over 160 different nations. Citigroup is also one of the nine banks in the bulge bracket. The corporation was established back in 1998 after a multi-billion dollar merger agreement between Citicorp and Travelers Group.
It owns more than dozen leading international banks throughout the globe, including Grupo Financiero Banamex, second largest bank in Mexico and Citibank India.
12. Japan Post Bank
Total Assets: US$ 1,874 billion
Market Capitalization: US$ 50 billion
Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan Post Bank is one of the largest wholly owned subsidiary of the state owned conglomerate Japan Post Holdings, which was established in 2006 in the wake of institutional changes in Japan’s postal services.
Unlike other large international banks, Japan Post Bank is mainly engaged in loan and insurance business. It is the only second bank in Japan to have branches in each of the 47 prefectures, the other being Mizuho Bank.
11. Wells Fargo
A Wells Fargo branch in North Carolina Image Courtesy: Ildar Sagdejev
Total Assets: US$ 1,951 billion
Market Capitalization: US$ 277 billion
Wells Fargo is a San Francisco based financial services company. Not long ago, Wells Fargo was the largest bank in the world by market capitalization, however a series of controversies and fraudulent or unethical practices caused the bank to lose investor support, which affected its market cap.
The current form of the bank was established in 1998 following a merger between Wells Fargo & Company and Norwest Corporation. Assimilation of Charlotte-based bank Wachovia in 2008 contributed to the cause. In fiscal year 2017, Wells Fargo had a total revenue of US$ 88.3 billion.
The company is currently facing multiple investigation from federal agencies. In February 2018, the U.S. Federal Reserve banned Wells Fargo from increasing its asset base until they solve a critical internal matter.
10. Crédit Agricole
Crédit Agricole SA. headquarters in Montrouge, France Image Courtesy : Luc Bernard
Total Assets: US$ 2,117 billion
Market Capitalization: US$ 87 billion
Crédit Agricole is the second largest banking group in France. It was established in 1894 specifically to take care of the banking needs of the farmers and encourage farming activities throughout the nation.
The bank underwent several institutional changes from 1988 to 2001. In 2003, Crédit Agricole acquired one of its biggest competitor Crédit Lyonnais after the latter ran into a major financial trouble in the late 1990s.
The company has a tree-tier institutional structure in place. The Local banks, Regional banks and Crédit Agricole S.A. Out of those three, only local and regional banks provide all types of financial services to individual customer and corporate entities.
Crédit Agricole S.A act as a centralized body for the company and is responsible for smooth interaction between regional and local banks.
9. Bank of America
Brian Moynihan, Chairman/CEO of BoFA Image Courtesy: World Economic Forum /Michael Wuertenberg
Total Assets: US$ 2,281 billion
Market Capitalization: US$ 295 billion
Those who have a vivid memory of the financial crisis of 2007-08 may recognize this name easily. Bank of America was one major banks, which issued a significant amount mortgage backed securities before 2008, which led to the financial calamity.
Anyway, BoFa is currently the second largest bank by total assets and 24th largest company by total revenue in the United States. The company registered a total revenue of US$ 87 billion and net income of US$ 18.23 billion in fiscal year 2017.
Bank of America became the largest player among the bulge bracket banking institutions after it acquired Merrill Lynch back in 2008. This acquisition gave BoFa a serious boost in the investment banking sector.
8. BNP Paribas
Total Assets: US$ 2,235 billion
Market Capitalization: US$ 99 billion
BNP Paribas is the leading banking group in France and the second largest in Europe in both assets under management and market cap. The bank was established in the year 2000 following a merger between BNP (Banue Nationale de Paris) and Paribas.
It is actively present in all the seven continents either directly or through subsidiaries. In the United States, it owns Bank of the West, a major financial service provider in Midwest USA. Similarly, in Italy and Belgium, the bank operates Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) and Fortis respectively.
BNP Paribas has a strong foothold in both retail and corporate banking sector. It serves over 40 million individuals around the globe and its investment banking arm is considered by many as one of the leading banks in derivatives and structured finance.
HSBC Headquarters in London Image Courtesy: Wikimedia
Total Assets: US$ 2,521 billion
Market Capitalization: US$ 187 billion
HSBC is a British banking behemoth, which is currently the largest bank in the entire Europe. The company was initially established in British Hong Kong around 1885 as Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. The bank went through a series of structural changes and was finally restructured into its current form in 1991.
In 2017, HSBC reported total revenue of US$ 51.4 billion, a 7% increase from US$ 40 billion a year before and US$ 17.1 billion in profit before tax. The company was involved in major controversies at least half-a-dozen time since 2003. The LIBOR scandal and money laundering case in 2003 and 2012 are few such cases.
6. JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Headquarters
Total Assets: US$ 2,533
Market Capitalization: US$ 374.1 billion
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is currently the largest banking corporation in the United States. It was established after a merger agreement between J.P. Morgan & Company, one of the most powerful banking institution at that time and Chase Manhattan Bank in the year 2000 and has been a banking Juggernaut since then.
It provides retail banking and credit card services under the brand name of Chase, while corporate banking services like asset management, private wealth management and security services are carried under the brand name of Morgan.
In year 2017, the company reported revenue of US$ 99.62 billion and a net income of US$ 24.45 billion.
5. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
Total Assets: US$ 2,784 billion
Market Capitalization: US$ 78.4 billion
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. is Japan’s largest financial services company with assets worth well over US$ 2 trillion. It is also one of the biggest subsidiaries of the Mitsubishi Group. The company was established in 2005 with the merger of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi and UFJ Bank, a subsidiary of UFJ Holdings. Apart from retail banking services, it provides investment management, retail management and similar services.
4. Bank of China
Bank of China New York Branch Image Courtesy: David Shankbone
Total Assets: US$ 2,991 billion
Market Capitalization: US$ 185 billion
Also known as one of the “Big Four”, the Bank of China is one of the largest public banks in China. The company was established by the Chinese Government in the year 1912 as one of the main issuer of the official bank notes. Currently, it is the second largest lender in China.
Headquartered in Beijing’s Xicheng District, it has two subsidiaries, one in Hong Kong and another one in Canada and is active in 27 other nations throughout the world. The bank is engaged in insurance business and provides credit card services along with wealth and asset management solutions.
3. Agricultural Bank of China
Total Assets: US$ 3,285 billion
Market Capitalization: US$ 182.3 billion
Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) or AgBank is one of the most prominent banks in the world. While the bank was initially established in 1951 following a merger between Farmers Bank of China and Cooperation Bank, it was restructured multiple time before the it took its current form in 1979.
It has about 24 thousand branches all over the country, over 320 million general customers and 2.7 million institutional clients. In 2010, ABC recorded the biggest IPO in the world at that time, but was overtaken shortly after by Alibaba. Apart from retail and investment banking, Agricultural bank of China is engaged in global wealth management and private equity business.
In 2007, the bank was a subject of a massive bank robbery worth ¥51 million or US$ 6.7 million, reported by its own management staff. It remains the largest bank robbery in the Chinese history till date.
2. China Construction Bank Corporation
China Construction Bank, Luxembourg Image Courtesy: Michael Kramer
Total Assets: US$ 3,400 billion
Market Capitalization: US$ 238 billion
China Construction Bank Corporation or CCB is one of the ten largest public companies in the world. Headquartered in Beijing, it has approximately 13,600 domestic branches and more than a dozen international ones, including a wholly owned subsidiary situated in London.
It offers retail banking services like mortgages, credit card and personal loans to the general public, as well as investment banking solutions to big corporations. CCB is also engaged in private equity and wealth management business.
In an attempt of taking advantage of China’s growing banking sector, Bank of America bought a 9% stake in China Construction Bank Corporation for $3 billion back in 2005 and a further 1.75% in 2008. However, BoFa sold its entire stake in the Chinese bank for a whooping $9.8 billion over three years from 2011 to 2013.
1. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
Total Assets: US$ 4,009 billion
Market Capitalization: US$ 312 billion
With over $4 trillion in total assets, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is currently the largest bank in the world. According to their annual report, the bank had an Operating profit of US$ 53 billion and a net profit of US$ 41 billion in 2016. It’s the first Chinese bank to become the largest public company in the world by total assets.
Like the other big three, ICBC is largely owned by the Government of China. Other shareholders include Temasek Holdings and National Council for Social Security Fund (NSSF). The bank offers a wide range of financial services including consumer and corporate banking, investment management, private equity and credit cards. Also, it has foreign subsidiaries in Canada, Macau and Turkey.