Europe's Banking System-Top Banks

European bank ranking

Until recently, Switzerland was the leader. However, now the situation has changed somewhat, and Germany occupies first place.

The German banking system is recognized as one of the most stable: the default rate is less than 2%. Only Japan and the United States have higher default rates.

Dutch bank - Rabobank

This Dutch financial group has been one of the ten largest banks in Europe for many years. The main direction of its activity is lending to agricultural and food enterprises. The group consists of the parent company Rabobank, 139 independent banks and numerous subsidiaries. Its assets are estimated at 698 billion euros.

Thanks to this, Rabobank is recognized on the global market as a leading financial institution in the agri-food industry. However, the average Dutch person perceives Rabobank as a simple commercial bank offering a wide range of services.

German Bank - Deutsche Bank

This financial group, founded in 1870, needs no introduction. Today its total assets amount to 1,590 billion euros. In Germany alone, Deutsche Bank has 1,500 branches and serves 13 million customers. Deutsche Bank is also investing heavily to expand its presence in Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

However, Deutsche Bank does not offer services to individuals. The only exception is a large personal wealth management service. The Board of Directors of Deutsche Bank is located in Frankfurt am Main.

Spanish bank - Santander Bank

The Banco Santander group, headquartered in the capital of Spain, is one of the largest banking groups in the world. It serves approximately 100 million customers through a record 14,000 branches. Its main markets are the USA, Argentina, Chile and Western Europe.

According to experts, Santander Bank is one of the most efficient banks in the world. Its cost-to-income ratio is 41.7%. Opening an account with Santander Bank is not just about saving money, it is about multiplying your money.

French Bank - Caisse des Depots et Consignations (French Savings and Trust Bank)

Founded in 1816, this state-owned French bank now represents the French Council for Development and Cooperation (CDC), the parliamentary oversight body that finances government projects. It invests in companies and real estate created by local governments, and also manages pension schemes outside the national system.

CDC ranks seventh in European banking rankings and is highly rated by reputable organizations. Total assets amount to 263 billion euros.

German Bank - Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau  (KfW)

KfW is one of Germany's largest financial groups. It is the third largest bank in Germany after Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank. The bank is 80 per cent owned by the German federal government and 20 per cent controlled by the German federal states. The bank's assets are estimated at €517bn.

Netherlands Bank - Nederlandse Waterschapsbank (NWB)

A financial company established in the Netherlands, the sixth largest bank in Europe. It is rated AAA by Standard@Poor's and Moody's and is the most reliable bank. Is the so-called "Water Bank", organising the banking group. The bank is wholly owned by various Dutch state organisations and only Dutch state and local organisations can be shareholders of the bank. According to 2013 data, 81 per cent is owned by the Dutch water authorities, 17 per cent by the Dutch government and 2 per cent by the provinces.

Swiss banks

The Swiss banking system is also worth mentioning. The most reliable financial institutions in Switzerland are the Post Finance Corporation (PostFinance) and the cantonal banks. The cantons are the largest shareholders of these financial institutions. Deposits of up to CHF 100,000 are guaranteed by an insurance fund. Deposits for higher amounts are guaranteed by the state.

If you are in doubt where to invest your money, then Swiss banks are your first choice. There is virtually no risk of losing money thanks to a well-functioning deposit insurance system. In case of unforeseen circumstances, the cantons that are shareholders of the central bank may decide to issue additional banknotes to save the financial groups of a particular canton.

Of course, the global crisis also affected European countries. Today, only a few large banks can boast top-notch credit ratings. Moreover, rating agencies, which have often overstated asset quality in the past, refuse to take responsibility for this.


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