The Spanish banking sector includes 59 private banks, 63 cooperative banks, two savings banks (cajas de ahorro) and over 80 branches of foreign banks, four of which are U.S. credit institutions. Banco de España (or Bank of Spain) is the national central bank and supervisor of banking system. Founded in 1782 by Charles III, it is a member of ESCB (European System of Central Banks). Here is a list of the largest and best banks operating in Spain.
Banco Santander is the largest bank in Spain in terms of assets, deposits, loans, number of branches and employees. With 133 million customers, 4 million shareholders and 202,480 employees, the company's top 10 main markets are Spain, Germany, UK, Portugal, Poland, Argentina, the U.S., Mexico, Brazil and Chile. It also has significant presence in Puerto Rico and Uruguay, and activities in China. Santander operates a network of around 13,000 branches worldwide including 4,366 branches in Spain. The Bank’s market capitalization was $40 billion at June 18, 2020.
BBVA Group (Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A.) is the second-largest bank in Spain. It was formed by a merger of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya (BBV) and Argentaria in 1999 and today serves over 75.7 million customers in 30 countries with strong positions in Latin America. The company operates through the following segments: Retail Banking, Corporate & Business Banking (CBB), Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB), BBVA Seguros and Asset Management. At the end of March 2019, BBVA Group had €691 billion in total assets, 7,840 branches, 31,920 ATMs and 125,750 employees.
CaixaBank, headquartered in Valencia, is the third-largest bank in Spain. It is a leading retail financial institution with 15.7 million customers, 5,033 domestic branches and 9,335 ATMs. It is also has the leading positions in retail banking in Portugal with about 2 million BPI customers. The company has been named Best Private Bank in Spain and Best Bank in Spain by Euromoney and Global Finance (2017, 2018). CaixaBank was founded in 2011 and employs 37,500 people. CriteriaCaixa is the company’s core shareholder.
Banco de Sabadell
Banco de Sabadell, located in Alicante, is the fourth largest Spanish bank. For the first quarter 2019, the total assets, gross loans and funds under management amounted to €225.7 billion, €147.4 billion and €206 billion, respectively. Established in 1881, Sabadell Group employs over 26,000 people and serves more than 11 million customers through a network of 2,455 branches including 1,864 domestic branches and 550 branches in the UK. In 2015, Sabadell acquired TSB, a retail bank based in the UK.
Bankia is the fifth-largest banking group in Spain. With customer satisfaction of over 88%, it serves more than 8.1 million people through over 2,300 physical branches and 2,300 ATMs. It is the market leader in six regions of the country. The company provides retail and business banking, private banking, bancassurance, asset management, online banking and real-estate services. Bankia was founded in 2010 with registered office in Valencia and operating headquarters in Madrid. The company’s shares are listed on the Madrid stock exchange.
Bankinter is one of the most profitable and healthy financial institutions in Spain. It is the country’s sixth largest bank with €76.3 billion in total assets and €54.8 billion in loans. It was established in 1965 through a joint venture between Santander and Bank of America. Bankinter is headquartered in Madrid and employs approximately 5,600 people. The company is rated Baa2 and BBB+ by Moody's and Standard & Poor’s, respectively.
KutxaBank, S.A. is a Spanish bank located in the Basque Autonomous Community. It offers current and savings accounts, debit and credit cards, life insurance, auto insurance, pension products, online banking and other services. It was formed in 2012 through the merger of Basque financial institutions: Bilbao Bizkaia Kutxa (BBK), Gipuzkoa Donostia Kutxa (Kutxa), and Caja Vital Kutxa. As of December 31, 2019, the company reported €59.6 billion in total assets, €42 billion in customer loans, and €45.8 billion in customer deposits.
Unicaja Banco SA, based in Malaga, is one of the top 10 banks in Spain with leading positions in Andalusia and Castilla y León. With 1,180 branches and 3 million clients nationwide, it offers savings accounts, credit cards, personal and commercial loans, mortgages, assets management, pension plans, life and general insurance, investments, credit transfers, customer collection and brokerage services, treasury, cash management, mobile and online banking, business prepaid cards, SME insurance, corporate liability insurance, agricultural financing and more. Unicaja Banco is controlled by Fundacion Bancaria Unicaja.
Ibercaja Banco, headquartered in Zaragoza, is the ninth largest banking group in Spain in terms of assets. It employs about 5,600 staff and provides a wide array of personal and business banking services to three million customers through over 1,150 branches and 1,475 ATMs across Spain. The Bank’s home markets are Aragón (which includes three provinces Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel), autonomous community La Rioja, municipality Guadalajara as well as Burgos and Badajoz. The Bank’s growth markets are Cataluna, Comunidad Valenciana and Madrid. Ibercaja is rated Ba3 by Moody’s and BB+ by Fitch.
Abanca Corporacion Bancaria SA (formerly NCG Banco which traded as Novagalicia Banco) is a Spanish credit institution founded on September 14, 2011. It is headquartered in Betanzos, a municipality in the autonomous community of Galicia, the province of A Coruña. Abanca is the country’s tenth largest bank by assets with over 620 local branches (including 502 branches in Galicia), 1 branch in Switzerland and four in Portugal as well as representative offices in France, Germany, the UK, Venezuela, Brazil, Panama and Mexico. Abanca Corporación Bancaria operates as a subsidiary of Abanca Holding Financiero S.A. (formerly Banesco Holding Financiero 2 SLU).
Top 10 Banks in Spain by assets
The table below shows the 10 largest Spanish banks ranked by total assets in billions of euros.
|Rank||Bank||Total assets, €bn (March 31, 2019)|
|9||Ibercaja Banco *||52.706|
* Data as of December 31, 2018.