The Ten Largest Banks in the World

The Ten Largest Banks in the World
Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

The world’s financial institutions are proof that the balance of economic power has shifted. Once dominated by US banks, the international financial landscape of today is now shaped by activities in Asia.

Chinese banks, in particular, play a leading role. Although China, the United States and the United Kingdom have the strongest banking presence globally based on tier 1 capital, China’s grip on the world’s top asset-bearing institutions highlights the Chinese State’s indisputable influence over the financial sector.

Even as China heads towards becoming the largest consumer market on the planet, however, questions about its short-term and long-term economic relationship with the West remain. Combined with the shifting, digitally-driven habits of next-generation banking clients, the make-up and positioning of the world’s top banks will never be completely set in stone.

Here are the top 10 largest banks in the world by assets:

The Ten Largest Banks in the World
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10. Crédit Agricole

Total Assets: $1.92 trillion

Country of Origin: France

Founded: 1894

Employees: 75,811

France’s second-largest banking group, Crédit Agricole was founded to extend credit and assist farmers with their banking needs in a bid to spur agricultural activities across the country.

The bank expanded its network and client base throughout the 20th century, eventually offering services and products to all businesses and consumers. In 1988, the bank disassociated itself with the state and listed on the stock exchange in 2001. The move allowed Crédit Agricole to diversify into corporate and investment banking – a strategy it took further with the acquisition of Finaref in 2003. Crédit Agricole is headquartered in Montrouge, France.

The Ten Largest Banks in the World
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9. Bank of America

Total Assets: $2.36 trillion

Country of Origin: USA

Founded: 1904

Employees: 204,000

Bank of America became the United States’ first coast-to-coast banking institution in 1998 through the merger of BankAmerica and NationsBank. In the following decades, Bank of America grew to serve one out of every two households in the US and most global Fortune 500 companies.

Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, the company operates through nearly 4,300 retail financial locations and approximately 16,800 ATMs. Bank of America‘s digital banking solution assists around 29 million mobile users.

The Ten Largest Banks in the World
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8. BNP Paribas

Total Assets: $2.44 trillion

Country of Origin: France

Founded: 1848

Employees: 202,624

France’s largest banking group and Europe’s second-largest, BNP Paribas was created in 2000 following the merger between Banque Nationale de Paris and Paribas. Operating in 72 countries, the bank engages through an integrated business model which includes retail banking and services and corporate institutional banking. BNP Paribas is headquartered in Paris. The Group serves nearly 33 million clients worldwide through its retail-banking networks and 27 million personal finance clients.

The Ten Largest Banks in the World
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7. HSBC

Total Assets: $2.56 trillion

Country of Origin: United Kingdom

Founded: 1865

Employees: 228,687

Europe’s largest banking group, HSBC was established in Hong Kong to facilitate trade between Europe and Asia during the 19th century. HSBC is an acronym that corresponds to the bank’s original name, “Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation”. The company was founded by Scotland native Thomas Sutherland who was working for a shipping firm in Hong Kong in 1864.

During the second half of the 20th century, HSBC expanded its network globally, gaining a foothold in the US with the purchase of Marine Midland bank in 1980. Another major expansion step for the bank was its acquisition of the UK’s Midland Bank in 1992.

HSBC serves more than 40 million customers through its personal, wealth and corporate segments in 64 countries and territories.

The Ten Largest Banks in the World
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6. JPMorgan Chase

Total Assets: $2.74 trillion

Country of Origin: USA

Founded: 1968

Employees: 256,105

Established after a 2000 merger between J.P. Morgan & Company and Chase Manhattan Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is the United States’ largest bank. The company’s 2004 merger with Bank One and 2008 acquisition of the Bear Stearns group extended JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s retail presence nationally from coast to coast in the US.

Headquartered in New York City, JPMorgan Chase & Co. operates in over 100 markets, providing retail banking and credit card services in addition to asset management, private wealth and security services.

The Ten Largest Banks in the World
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5. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group

Total Assets: $3.09 trillion

Country of Origin: Japan

Founded: 2001

Employees: 117,321

Headquartered in Tokyo, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group is Japan’s largest financial services company and a subsidiary of the Mitsubishi Group. Established in its present form by way of a 2005 merger between Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi and UFJ Bank, MUFG engages in retail banking, both personal and commercial, in addition to investment services.

MUFG went on to form a strategic alliance with Morgan Stanley in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, investing $9 billion into the US firm in an effort to strengthen the investment banking sector. The once family-controlled Mitsubishi group of companies founded by Iwasaki Yatarō in 1873 was dissolved and restructured during the 1950s into an independently controlled operating model.

The Ten Largest Banks in the World
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4. Bank of China

Total Assets: $3.16 trillion

Country of Origin: China

Founded: 1912

Employees: 311,133

China’s longest continuous operating bank, BOC served as the country’s central bank, international exchange bank and specialised international trade bank until 1949. BOC was transformed into a wholly state-owned commercial bank in 1994 and is considered one of China’s most globalised, integrated banks with operations in 57 countries. Headquartered in Beijing, BOC engages in banking and related financial services through its corporate banking, personal banking, treasury operations, investment banking and insurance segments.

The Ten Largest Banks in the World
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3. Agricultural Bank of China

Total Assets: $3.29 trillion

Country of Origin: China

Founded: 1951

Employees: 473,691

Originally established as the Agricultural Cooperative Bank, a state-owned specialised bank, ABC restructured into a wholly state-owned and controlled commercial bank during the late 1970s. ABC is one of China’s largest integrated financial service providers, with over 23,682 domestic branch outlets and ten overseas branches serving over 320 million customers.

The Agricultural Bank of China engages through its retail and investments segments and is credited with one of the world’s largest IPOs at $22.1 billion in 2010, second only to Alibaba Group Holding Limited’s $25 billion.

The Ten Largest Banks in the World
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2. China Construction Bank Corporation

Total Assets: $3.38 trillion

Country of Origin: China

Founded: 1954

Employees: 352,621

Headquartered in Beijing, China, Construction Bank was founded as the People’s Construction Bank of China, a wholly state-owned bank used to administer and disburse government funds for construction- and infrastructure-related projects. CCB transitioned into more commercial banking functions in 1979, eventually becoming a full-service commercial bank in 1994.

CCB is one of China’s leading commercial banks, offering a range of commercial banking products and services through its corporate, personal and treasury banking segments. China Construction Bank Corporation operates through its approximately 13,629 branch outlets in addition to overseas branches in Hong Kong, Singapore, Frankfurt, Johannesburg, Tokyo, Seoul, New York, Ho Chi Minh City and Sydney.

The Ten Largest Banks in the World
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1. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

Total Assets: $4.03 trillion

Country of Origin: China

Founded: 1984

Employees: 449,296

The world’s largest bank, ICBC serves 5,784 thousand corporate customers and 530 million personal customers across 42 countries and territories. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China ranks number one on Forbes‘ list of the largest 2000 public companies by assets and twentieth in sales with its $176 billion annually.

Headquartered in Beijing, the state-owned bank was listed on both the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2006, claiming the world’s largest IPO at that time with $21.9 billion raised.