The best banks in Europe by country: Who is the best?

Best banks in Europe

In first place in Germany is Sparda-Bank Hessen, founded in 1887, an institution with a strong regional presence but solid and attentive to customers' needs; in second place is ING Bank Group, a Dutch bank from Amsterdam, also present in other countries and focused on a wide range of retail services in high demand by customers; in third place is N26, which owes its success to the idea of creating a fully smart account managed from a cell phone, with competitive prices and maximum flexibility.

In France, online realities and small credit organizations such as N26, Boursorama Banque and Monabanq take the top spots. In the case of N26, the combination of financial solidity and technology is complemented by a multilingual app and customer service in French; Boursorama Banque, born out of a Société Générale bank project, provides an innovative online banking system with a diversification of services, from bank accounts to access to credit, from online investments to insurance; Monabanq Company Stats, on the other hand, was one of the first retail credit institutions to allow, in 2014, the opening of a current account in just a few minutes and without proof of income.

The situation is similar in Spain, where three online lending organizations - N26, Revolut and Openbank - occupy the top three spots. N26 was recognized for the availability of different types of subscriptions suitable for all categories of individuals, as well as for the possibility of using the account and for freelance activities with and without VAT number, through the development of business services; for Revolut, for the possibility of combining a range of banking services with fintech services, from debit cards to multi-currency payments, up to investments in markets and cryptocurrencies; Openbank combines the diversification of online financial products with the possibility of using services more than 4. This combination is valued not only by young people and families, but also by retirees who want a flexible and reliable product.

However, in the UK, the first three positions in the ranking are occupied by so-called challenger banks, i.e. three retail banks: there is First Direct, part of HSBC since 1992 and basing its success on an online banking service consisting of an internet platform and telephone banking support; followed by Starling Bank, which has been well received by customers for having retail services for individuals and businesses and has demonstrated resilience, including through high profitability (over £44.9m profit in 2022). Rounding out the ranking is Banca Monzo, one of the UK's top smart banks, managed via a mobile app. The bank's combination of technology, finance and security has enabled it to attract more than one million customers.

Among the top ten banks in the Forbes ranking in Italy, we find several online institutions. Also, unlike previous ones, large banking groups such as Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo do not appear here.

In fact, the top spot went to illimity Bank, a Milan-based lending institution specializing in providing financial services to small and medium-sized Italian companies, including customized financing and banking solutions. The bank is listed on the Milan Stock Exchange and is part of the FTSE Italia Mid Cap and FTSE Italia Star segments.

In second place is Revolut, another digital bank offering innovative financial services such as international payments with no fees and currency exchange often at zero cost; other services include instant bank transfers (always free of charge) and investment services in cryptocurrencies, ETFs and stocks.

In third place is Fineco Bank, an Emilia-Romagna-based credit institution known for its online trading platform and a wide range of financial services, including current, investment and trading accounts, with corresponding digital instruments available to customers.


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