The UK banking industry is the fourth largest globally and the largest in Europe. There are approximately 350 banks operating in the United Kingdom including 160 foreign deposit taking institutions. There are also 47 building societies who have permission to accept deposits. The banking segment is dominated by four largest banks: HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and RBS Group. Santander UK plc is the largest foreign bank in the UK in terms of total assets. There are approximately 50,000 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the UK, with 128 ATMs per 100,000 adults. The Bank of England, established on July 27, 1694, is the central bank of the country and the second oldest central bank in the world. Below is a list of the largest and best banks in the United Kingdom.
The UK’s Largest Banks
HSBC Holdings plc is the largest bank in the UK by assets and market capitalization. With around 40 million clients, it operates over 3,800 branches and offices worldwide and employs more than 238,000 people. The company’s key business areas are commercial and private banking, retail banking, wealth management, and global banking and markets. It was named World’s Best Bank for Corporates, World's Best Bank for public-sector and World’s Best Bank for Transaction Services by Euromoney; Best Private Bank in the UK by PWM/The Banker and Most Innovative Investment Bank of the Year by The Banker. For the year ended December 31, 2018, HSBC recorded US$54 billion in revenue and US$20 billion in profit before tax. As of March 31, 2019, HSBC had total assets of US$2.659 trillion, customer loans of US$1 trillion, customer deposits of US$1.4 trillion and shareholders’ equity of US$188 billion.
Barclays plc is the second largest bank in the UK. It offers personal and corporate banking, wealth management, insurance, foreign exchange and other services through one of the largest branch and ATM network in the United Kingdom. The company employs about 80,000 people and is headquartered in London. Barclays was named Best Investment Bank in the UK as well as Best Bank for Financing in Western Europe by Euromoney. In 2018, the company’s revenue and net income were US$27 billion and US$3 billion, respectively. As of June 28, 2019, Barclays had a market capitalization of US$33 billion.
Lloyds Banking Group is the third largest banking group in the United Kingdom in terms of total assets. The company’s main business lines include retail and commercial banking, corporate banking, life and non- life insurance, and pension and investment services. The Group’s subsidiaries include Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, Scottish Widows, Lloyds Development Capital, Agricultural Mortgage Corporation, Black Horse Limited and Lex Autolease Limited, among others. Lloyds Bank was named the best UK bank in Western Europe by Global Finance. The company was founded in 1765 and is listed on the London and New York Stock exchanges.
Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (RBS Group), headquartered in Edinburgh, is a banking and financial services company with about 70,000 employees. It is the fourth largest bank in the UK in terms of total assets. The Group operates through a number of well-known brands including NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank, Coutts & Co., Adam & Company, Child & Co., Drummonds, Holt's, Isle of Man Bank and Lombard.
Standard Chartered is a global financial services organization based in London, England. With over 86,000 employees and 1,025 branches, it has operations in more than 60 markets. Global Finance named Standard Chartered “Best Consumer Digital Bank” in 2017. As of March 31, 2019, it had 525 billion British pounds in total assets. The company's shares are traded on the London Stock Exchange and Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Santander UK is one of the leading retail and commercial banks in the United Kingdom with 15 million customers and 24,000 employees. The company offers current and savings accounts, investment accounts, personal and mortgage loans, car loans, insurance as well as a range of credit cards including everyday credit card, all in one credit card, zero credit card and Santander World Elite MasterCard. As of March 31, 2019, Santander UK Group Holdings plc had £285.5 billion in total assets, £171.5 billion in customer deposits and £200 billion in customer loans of which £158 billion in retail mortgages. Santander UK is a wholly owned subsidiary of Spanish giant Banco Santander.
CYBG Plc is a financial services company that owns Clydesdale Bank, Virgin Money UK, Yorkshire Bank, and mobile app-based digital banking service B, which offers current & instant savings accounts as well as Mastercard debit and credit cards. £1.7 billion takeover of Virgin Money was formally completed in October 2018.
The Co-operative Bank is a British retail and commercial bank based in Manchester. It offers current and savings accounts, consumer and mortgage loans, credit cards, insurance, pre-paid funeral plans, asset management, project finance and treasury services. The Co-operative Bank is covered by Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). FSCS pay compensation if financial services firms fail.
Metro Bank plc is a high street bank launched in the summer of 2010. Metro Bank is the revolution in the UK banking. The Bank's 56 stores are open 362 days a year, 7 days a week, and from 8 am - 8 pm on weekdays. It was named Most Trusted Current Account Provider, Most Trusted Financial Provider and Most Trusted Savings & Cash ISA Provider by MoneyWise. The company is based in Holborn, London and employs over 3,000 people. As of June 30, 2018, it reported £12.01 billion in customer loans and £13.7 billion in customer deposits.
Tesco Bank is the UK retail bank owned by Tesco plc, one of the largest retailers in the world based on revenue. The Bank offers current accounts and savings products, credit cards, loans, mortgages and travel money (competitive foreign exchange rates). You can buy foreign currency in more than 300 travel money bureaux in Tesco stores across the United Kingdom. The company also offers car insurance, pet insurance, home insurance, travel insurance as well as telephone, online and mobile banking and in-store services.
See also: Foreign Banks in the UK
Top 10 UK Banks by assets
Here is a list of the 10 largest banks in the United Kingdom ranked by assets in billions of British Pounds.
|Rank||Bank||Total assets, £b (12/31/2018)|
|3||Lloyds Banking Group||797.598|
|4||Royal Bank of Scotland Group||694.235|
|7||Virgin Money ^||45.116|
|8||CYBG PLC *||43.456|
|9||The Co-operative Bank||23.103|
|11||Tesco Bank **||15.115|
* Data as of September 30, 2018
** Data as of August 31, 2018
^ In October 2018, CYBG completed acquisition of Virgin Money Holdings (UK) plc.
Top 5 UK Banks by market capitalization
Following are the largest banks in the UK ranked by market capitalization in billions of US dollars.
|Rank||Bank||Market cap, US$b (July 5, 2019)|
|1||HSBC Holdings||$170.4 B|
|2||Lloyds Banking Group||$51.1 B|
|3||Royal Bank of Scotland||$34.6 B|
|5||Standard Chartered||$29.8 B|
|6||CYBG PLC||$3.7 B|