Although signs of recovery appear to be on the horizon, the financial crisis continues to plague the global banking system. Banks are being shut down on a regular basis and interest rates continue to fall, making it harder and harder to find a reliable and trustworthy bank, that also has a high savings account rate.
As shown below, European banks have appeared to fare better than their American counterparts. Below are the world’s ten largest banks, determined by the amount of assets and a description of each.
BNP Paribas (BNP) – This French bank comes in at No. 1 with $2.96 trillion in assets. BNP is one of the largest global banking networks in the world with operations in 84 countries. BNP has four domestic retail banking markets located in France, Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg. In April 2009, as a result of BNP’s 75% purchase of Fortis Bank, the Belgian bank is now the largest Eurozone deposit holder.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group – RBS Group ranks as the number two bank in terms of assets held. Currently, the British government is the largest owner of the bank. As a result of severe losses and the conditions of a government backed bailout, RBS Group has halted dividend payments. RBS Group is the largest banking group in Scotland and operates a wide variety of banking brands including personal and business banking, private banking, insurance and corporate finance throughout its operations located in Europe, North America and Asia. As of May 2010, RBS Group had $2.75 trillion in assets.
Barclays PLC (Barclay’s) – Barclays, with $2.23 trillion in assets, is a British financial services firm operating worldwide. It is a holding company listed on the London and New York Stock exchanges, is a component of the FTSE 100 Index and until 2008 was also listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Barclays operates through branches, offices and subsidiaries in the United Kingdom and overseas and provides retail banking, credit card, corporate and investment banking and wealth management services. Its two major business groups are: Global Retailing and Commercial Banking, and Investment Banking and Investment Management.
Deutsche Bank – Deutsche Bank, the largest German bank with $2.16 trillion in assets, has a strong presence throughout Germany and Europe and continues to grow in North America and Asia. As of March 31, 2010, Deutsche Bank had approximately 2,000 branches in 72 countries.
HSBC Bank – HSBC Bank has more than 460 bank branches throughout the United States, with the majority (380) in New York State. Coming in at number 5 on our list of the biggest banks with $2.36 trillion in assets, HSBC offers its 4 million customers access to global markets through its personal financial services, private banking, retail banking, commercial banking and global banking and market segments.
Credit Agricole – The second and final French bank on the top 10 list with $2.24 trillion in assets, Credit Agricole is a retail banking leader in France and throughout Europe. It is part of the CAC 40, a benchmark French stock market index. It has 11,500 branches throughout the world, more than 160,000 employees and 59 million customers in 70 countries.
Bank of America (BAC) – BAC is the largest bank holding company in the United States, by assets, with $2.22 trillion. The company serves clients all over the world and has a relationship with 99% of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies. In 2008, BAC acquired Merrill Lynch making it the world’s largest wealth manager. It is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and is part of the S&P 500 Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (Mitsubishi) – With $2.20 trillion in assets, Mitsubishi is Japan’s largest bank holding/financial services group. Part of the Mitsubishi Corporation, the company provides a wide variety of financial and investment services including commercial banking, trust banking, international finance, and assets management services.
J.P. Morgan Chase – One of the two so-called “too big to fail” banks, along with Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase is the 10th largest bank in the world with $2.03 trillion in assets. The company provides products and services to its clients in 100 countries including asset management, investment banking, private banking, treasury and securities services, and commercial banking. J.P. Morgan Chase is traded on the NYSE under ticker symbol JPM.
CitiGroup – Rounding out the top ten banks in the world by asset type is CitiGroup with $1.86 trillion in assets. CitiGroup is compiled of many different banking sectors, including credit cards, mortgages and deposits and are headquartered in the Big Apple.
So there are 10 largest banks in the world. But of course, bigger is not always better. So if you are looking for banks with the best interest rates, check out these options: