The 10 Largest Banks in the World

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In the world of banking, does bigger mean better? Read our thoughts on this below along with a list of the ten largest banks in the world.

Below are the world’s ten largest banks, determined by the amount of assets and a description of each. (This data is based on the S&P Global Market Intelligence Report of 2017)

10 Largest Banks in the World

1. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

Established in 1984, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has quickly grown to become the largest bank in the world based on assets. Its current asset tally is a whopping 3.47 trillion. ICBC focuses most of its efforts in the industry (the name kind of gives it away). They offer the majority of their loans in manufacturing, transportation, power, and retail. This bank shows no signs of slowing down either. It reported a 3.3% rise in profit for the 3rd quarter of 2017.

  • Headquartered in Beijing, China
  • Employs 460,000

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2. China Construction Bank Corporation

The second-largest bank in China also happens to be the second-largest in the world. The China Construction Bank Corporation currently holds $3.02 trillion in assets. One of the older banks in China, CCB was founded in 1954. In 2005, Bank of America wanted to expand its business into China. So it purchased a 9% stake in CCB. That didn’t work out so well, however. And BOA needed to sell most of its stake in 2009 during the US financial crisis. In 2013, Bank of America sold its remaining position in CCB and has focused its Asian operations in Hong Kong.

  • Headquartered in Beijing, China
  • Employs 330,000

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3. Agricultural Bank of China

If you’re sensing a trend here, you’re not alone. Yet another Chinese bank, the Agricultural Bank of China ranks third largest in the world with $2.82 trillion in assets. Known as Ag Bank and founded in 1951, the Agricultural Bank of China has branch locations in Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, London, New York, and many other of the world’s largest cities. Fun fact: In 2007, Ag Bank was the victim of the largest Chinese bank robbery ever. Thieves stole $7.5 million.

  • Headquartered in Beijing, China
  • Employs 444,000


4. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (Mitsubishi)

With $2.63 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. With all of the accolades MUFG has garnered, it’s surprising to learn they were only founded in 2005.

  • Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan
  • Employs 106,000

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5. Bank of China

Yet another Asian bank rounds out the top five. Bank of China controls $2.61 trillion in assets and was founded in 1912. While this bank is no longer 100% government-owned, the largest shareholder of the Bank of China is still the investment arm of the People’s Republic of China. The Bank of China is the second-largest lender in the country. It currently has two locations in the state of New York.

  • Headquartered in Beijing China
  • Employs 310,000

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6. 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 sixth-largest bank in the world with $2.50 trillion in assets. The company provides products and services to its clients in 100 countries, It offers 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. Of all the banks on our list, Chase is the second newest, having only been founded in 2000.

  • Headquartered in New York City, New York
  • Employs 245,000

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7. HSBC Holdings PLC

HSBC Bank has more than 460 bank branches throughout the United States, with the majority (380) in New York State. This one comes in at number seven on our list of the biggest banks with $2.37 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. HSBC was initially founded in British Hong Kong in 1865.

  • Headquartered in London, UK
  • Employs 235,000

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8. BNP Paribas

This French bank comes in at number eight with $2.19 trillion in assets. BNP is one of the largest global banking networks in the world with operations in 75 countries. BNP has four domestic retail banking markets located in France, Italy, Belgium, and Luxembourg. In April 2009, as a result of BNPs 75% purchase of Fortis Bank, the Belgian bank is now the largest Eurozone deposit holder. BNP Paribas was founded all the way back in 1848. Its core profitability comes from retail banking. More than three-quarters of its revenue comes from everyday client accounts.

  • Headquartered in Paris, France
  • Employs 190,000

9. Bank of America (BAC)

BAC is the largest bank holding company in the United States, by assets, with $2.19 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.

  • Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Employs 208,000

10. Wells Fargo

Sneaking into the top 10, Wells Fargo has labored through the last few years with a few scandals they’d like to forget. Still, the bank currently holds $1.93 trillion in assets and is one of the United States’ largest retail banks. Founded all the way back in 1852, Wells Fargo has close to 9,000 retail locations scattered across the United States. They became my bank of record when in 2009, when they purchased Wachovia. All of a sudden, my login was changed, and I remember seeing a lot of wagons!

  • Headquartered in San Francisco, California
  • Employs 270,000

So that is our list of the 10 largest banks in the world. But of course, bigger is not always better. Check out Benefits of Small Local Banks vs. Big Banks to find out why.

Rob Berger

Rob Berger

Rob Berger is the founder of Dough Roller and the Dough Roller Money Podcast. A former securities law attorney and Forbes deputy editor, Rob is the author of the book Retire Before Mom and Dad. He educates independent investors on his YouTube channel and at

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