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The largest European banks by assets

According to CNBC, the European Union will stress-test its 25 largest banks in much the same way as the US has done. There has been considerable wrangling on whether the results of the stress tests will be publicly available on a per-institution basis. The latest I have heard is that all countries are onboard with releasing stress test results for all individual institutions tested.

Therefore, I have compiled four lists of banks below.

  1. The first is a list of the largest Eurozone banks by assets according to data I compiled via the Forbes Global 2000 list. This excludes non-Eurozone banks from nations like the UK or Denmark but includes ING Groep as a bank.
  2. The second is the same list but also including the non-Eurozone banks.
  3. The third list is a list of the largest European banks by assets would include any Swiss, Russian, Norwegian or other European banks.
  4. Finally, the fourth list is just a global list as a reference point on size. The list now includes all of the too-big-to-fail US institutions.

A few comments first.

Undercapitalised Europe

The Eurozone banks are less well-capitalised than US banks. If you recall, last year I went through this exercise (see The top 25 European banks by assets) because of an article in the Telegraph which indicated that European banks were sitting on 16.3 trillion in toxic assets. I expect that many of the toxic assets that were on European bank balance sheets in February 2009 are still on their balance sheets at cost i.e. without having been written down. This is why I think the European banks are undercapitalized and why the stress tests are happening.

In alarmist early 2009 posts like Switzerland threatened with bankruptcy, German banks loaded with 816 billion in toxic paper or The European problem, the genesis of my alarm was the interconnectedness and undercapitalisation of the European banking system. I first wrote about this before Lehman and the panic of 2008 (see my June 2008 post European banks: still undercapitalised). So, it’s not as if the undercapitalisation meme appeared on the scene due to the panic and drop in asset values. And these are the same issues today, two years later. We are talking solvency – not liquidity – in Europe as we are in the US.

Stress Tests

As for stress tests, I think they are of dubious value. However, in a November post I presented both sides of the argument on the US Treasury’s handling of the credit crisis – with the stress test and liquidity/solvency issues front and centre:

Note the following about the US tests:

Of course the stress tests were a sham. They were a confidence trick to raise more capital and buy time for the banks to earn yet more still. The point was to allow the banks to ease into their losses. And that’s exactly what’s been happening for the past year.

-The fake stress tests and the coming wave of second mortgage writedowns

So, if the European stress tests are equally ‘successful,’ the European bank liquidity crisis will fade and we will see banks raising much needed debt and equity capital in the market instead of having the government inject capital.

The view of the stress tests I presented in March is still operative:

If I had to summarize these thoughts I would say the stress tests were a mock exercise to instil confidence in the capital markets. This was important first and foremost because it would induce private investors to pay for bank recapitalization instead of taxpayers. But it was also important for the economy as a whole as the sick banking sector was dragging the whole economy down. The key, however, is that the tests were a mock exercise. Despite the additional capital, banks are still hiding hundreds of billions of dollars in losses in level three, hold to maturity, and off balance sheet asset pools. If asset prices fall and/or the economy weakens, all of this subterfuge would be for nought.

-Geithner: jusqu’ici tout va bien

The same issues are at play in Europe. If recovery continues, I fully expect the biggest and best capitalized to escape trouble and be home free. This is important as many of them are too big to bail. However, if recovery fades and asset prices fall again, we are in big trouble across the board. And you should expect bankruptcies and bailouts all around – just a warning.

Top 40 Eurozone Banks By Assets

BNP Paribas France 2,952.22
Crédit Agricole France 2,227.22
Deutsche Bank Germany 2,150.60
ING Group Netherlands 1,667.62
Société Générale Group France 1,468.72
UniCredit Group Italy 1,438.91
Banco Santander Spain 1,438.68
Commerzbank Germany 1202.99
Intesa Sanpaolo Italy 877.66
Dexia Belgium 828.74
Natixis France 769.48
BBVA-Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Spain 760.39
KBC Group Belgium 462.66
CIC Group France 351.15
Deutsche Postbank Germany 325.12
Banca MPS Italy 292.22
Erste Bank Austria 278.9
Bank of Ireland Ireland 256.98
Allied Irish Banks Ireland 249.26
Banque Nat de Belgique Belgium 212.96
Landesbank Berlin Germany 200.8
Banco Popular Español Spain 185.5
SNS Reaal Netherlands 184.22
UBI Banca Italy 168.46
Banco Popolare Italy 166.15
National Bank of Greece Greece 140.48
BCP-Banco Com Português Portugal 136.25
Raiffeisen International Bank Austria 118.58
Banco de Sabadell Spain 117.85
EFG Eurobank Ergasias Greece 113.92
CAM Group Spain 108.25
Espirito Santo Finl Luxembourg 108.15
Bank of Greece Greece 98.58
Alpha Bank Group Greece 90.26
Bankinter Spain 78.06
Piraeus Bank Greece 75.95
Volksbank Austria 73.06
BPER-Emilia Romagna Italy 73.05
Banca Popolare di Milano Italy 62.26
IKB Germany 59.02

Top 40 EU Banks By Assets

BNP Paribas France 2,952.22
Royal Bank of Scotland United Kingdom 2,727.94
HSBC Holdings United Kingdom 2,355.83
Crédit Agricole France 2,227.22
Barclays United Kingdom 2,223.04
Deutsche Bank Germany 2,150.60
ING Group Netherlands 1,667.62
Lloyds Banking Group United Kingdom 1,650.78
Société Générale Group France 1,468.72
UniCredit Group Italy 1,438.91
Banco Santander Spain 1,438.68
Commerzbank Germany 1202.99
Intesa Sanpaolo Italy 877.66
Dexia Belgium 828.74
Natixis France 769.48
BBVA-Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Spain 760.39
Nordea Bank Sweden 729.06
Danske Bank Group Denmark 597.03
KBC Group Belgium 462.66
Standard Chartered Group United Kingdom 435.56
CIC Group France 351.15
Deutsche Postbank Germany 325.12
SEB-Skand Enskilda Bank Sweden 323.28
Svenska Handelsbanken Sweden 297.27
Banca MPS Italy 292.22
Erste Bank Austria 278.9
Bank of Ireland Ireland 256.98
Swedbank Sweden 251.18
Allied Irish Banks Ireland 249.26
Banque Nat de Belgique Belgium 212.96
Landesbank Berlin Germany 200.8
Banco Popular Español Spain 185.5
SNS Reaal Netherlands 184.22
UBI Banca Italy 168.46
Banco Popolare Italy 166.15
National Bank of Greece Greece 140.48
BCP-Banco Com Português Portugal 136.25
Raiffeisen International Bank Austria 118.58
Banco de Sabadell Spain 117.85
EFG Eurobank Ergasias Greece 113.92

Top 40 European Banks By Assets

BNP Paribas France 2,952.22
Royal Bank of Scotland United Kingdom 2,727.94
HSBC Holdings United Kingdom 2,355.83
Crédit Agricole France 2,227.22
Barclays United Kingdom 2,223.04
Deutsche Bank Germany 2,150.60
ING Group Netherlands 1,667.62
Lloyds Banking Group United Kingdom 1,650.78
Société Générale Group France 1,468.72
UniCredit Group Italy 1,438.91
Banco Santander Spain 1,438.68
UBS Switzerland 1,288.19
Commerzbank Germany 1202.99
Credit Suisse Group Switzerland 988.91
Intesa Sanpaolo Italy 877.66
Dexia Belgium 828.74
Natixis France 769.48
BBVA-Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Spain 760.39
Nordea Bank Sweden 729.06
Danske Bank Group Denmark 597.03
KBC Group Belgium 462.66
Standard Chartered Group United Kingdom 435.56
CIC Group France 351.15
Deutsche Postbank Germany 325.12
SEB-Skand Enskilda Bank Sweden 323.28
DnB NOR Norway 315.61
Svenska Handelsbanken Sweden 297.27
Banca MPS Italy 292.22
Erste Bank Austria 278.9
Bank of Ireland Ireland 256.98
Swedbank Sweden 251.18
Allied Irish Banks Ireland 249.26
Sberbank Russia 220.62
Banque Nat de Belgique Belgium 212.96
Landesbank Berlin Germany 200.8
Banco Popular Español Spain 185.5
SNS Reaal Netherlands 184.22
UBI Banca Italy 168.46
Banco Popolare Italy 166.15
National Bank of Greece Greece 140.48

Top 40 Banks in the World By Assets

COMPANY COUNTRY ASSETS ($BIL)
BNP Paribas France 2,952.22
Royal Bank of Scotland United Kingdom 2,727.94
HSBC Holdings United Kingdom 2,355.83
Crédit Agricole France 2,227.22
Bank of America United States 2,223.30
Barclays United Kingdom 2,223.04
Deutsche Bank Germany 2,150.60
JPMorgan Chase United States 2,031.99
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Japan 1,999.58
Citigroup United States 1,856.65
ING Group Netherlands 1,667.62
Lloyds Banking Group United Kingdom 1,650.78
Mizuho Financial Japan 1,538.94
Société Générale Group France 1,468.72
UniCredit Group Italy 1,438.91
Banco Santander Spain 1,438.68
ICBC China 1,428.46
UBS Switzerland 1,288.19
Wells Fargo United States 1,243.65
Commerzbank Germany 1202.99
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Japan 1,202.59
China Construction Bank China 1,106.20
Bank of China China 1,016.31
Credit Suisse Group Switzerland 988.91
Intesa Sanpaolo Italy 877.66
Fannie Mae United States 869.14
Goldman Sachs Group United States 849.00
Freddie Mac United States 841.78
Dexia Belgium 828.74
Morgan Stanley United States 771.46
Natixis France 769.48
BBVA-Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Spain 760.39
Nordea Bank Sweden 729.06
Royal Bank of Canada Canada 608.05
Danske Bank Group Denmark 597.03
National Australia Bank Australia 574.41
Westpac Banking Group Australia 519.03
Toronto-Dominion Bank Canada 517.28
Commonwealth Bank Australia 500.2
KBC Group Belgium 462.66

*Note: This list includes all banks and diversified financial institutions that are privately-held i.e. not owned exclusively by government. So, it excludes the German Landesbanks and the Spanish Cajas but it includes the likes of RBS and Lloyds. It excludes insurance companies except ING (because of its significant banking operations). It excludes Berkshire Hathaway (an insurance company) which is listed as a diversified financial but includes Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which are also listed as diversified financials.

About 

Edward Harrison is the founder of Credit Writedowns and a former career diplomat, investment banker and technology executive with over twenty years of business experience. He is also a regular economic and financial commentator on BBC World News, CNBC Television, Business News Network, CBC, Fox Television and RT Television. He speaks six languages and reads another five, skills he uses to provide a more global perspective. Edward holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College. Edward also writes a premium financial newsletter. Sign up here for a free trial.

1 Comment

  1. someone says:

    And the DZ Bank!