Big Four (banking)
Internationally, the term "Big Four Banks" has traditionally referred to the following central banks:
- The Bank of England
In Australia, the "big four banks" refers to the four largest banks by market share, who between them hold 80% of the home loan markets in the country. In 2012, their combined total asset is A$2.66 trillion, which is about 200% of Australian GDP in 2011. In order of total assets, these are:
- National Australia Bank (NAB)
- Commonwealth Bank (CBA) (was owned by Commonwealth Australian Government up to 1996)
- Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ)
- Westpac (WBC)
A longstanding policy of the federal government in Australia has been to maintain this status quo, called the "four pillars policy". The policy has been maintained through the Global Recession of 2008–09, as Westpac acquired St.George Bank and the Commonwealth Bank acquired Bankwest, reinforcing the special status of the "big four".
Being New Zealand's closest neighbour, with very close ties culturally and economically, has helped Australia dominate the banking sector there. Often referred to collectively as the 'big banks' or the 'big Aussie banks', the "Big Four" Australian banks also dominate the New Zealand banking sector in the form of:
- Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, or ANZ, also comprising the former business of The National Bank.
- ASB Bank, formerly Auckland Savings Bank, wholly owned by the Commonwealth Bank
- The Bank of New Zealand (BNZ), wholly owned by the National Australia Bank
- Westpac, formerly known as WestpacTrust after a merger with the Trust Bank.
These four subsidiaries are massively profitable and in some cases even outperform the Australian parent company. The extent to which they dominate the banking sector can be seen in profits: In the 2012/2013 financial year, the largest of the Big Banks, ANZ New Zealand, made a profit of NZ$1.37 billion. The smallest, BNZ, made a profit of NZ$695 million. State-owned Kiwibank, community trust-owned TSB Bank, SBS Bank (formerly Southland Building Society) and Heartland Bank, the next four largest banks by profit, made NZ$97 million, NZ$73.5 million, NZ$14 million and NZ$7 million (albeit with an underlying result of about NZ$30 million) respectively. In other words, the profit of New Zealand's next four largest banks (after the Big Four) is equal to less than 30% of the smallest of the Big Four, BNZ.
The "Big Four" banks of Belgium are a result of national- and international mergers in the early 90s.
- Belfius, government owned bank
- BNP Paribas Fortis, subsidiary of BNP Paribas
- ING Bank, subsidiary of the ING Group
- KBC Bank, including it's CBC Banque subsidiary in the French Community of Belgium and KBC Brussels brand in the Brussels-Capital Region
- Banco do Brasil - The largest bank in Brazil; state-run.
- Itaú Unibanco - The largest private bank.
- Caixa Econômica Federal - state-run.
- Banco Bradesco
The term "Big Five", is used as opposed to four, with five banks dominating Canadian banking. The operation of Canadian banks include retail banking, mutual funds, insurance, credit cards, and brokerage activities. In addition, they have large international subsidiaries operated through subsidiaries (i.e. CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, and TD Bank, N.A.). The Canadian banking operations of the Big Five are largely conducted out of each parent company, unlike U.S. banks that use a holding company structure to hold their primary retail banking subsidiaries. The Big Five include:
- Royal Bank of Canada
- Toronto-Dominion Bank
- Bank of Nova Scotia
- Bank of Montreal
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
During the 1920s, the term “Big Four” applied to the Four Northern Banks of the Republic of China (i.e. the four most capitalized commercial banks in Northern China). These were the Yien Yieh Commercial Bank, the Kincheng Banking Corporation, the Continental Bank and The China & South Sea Bank. These were contrasted with the Three Southern Banks of Southern China.
By 1949, the Big Four banks were the Bank of China, the Bank of Communications, the Central Bank of China and the Farmers Bank of China. All four were state-owned banks. These four, together with Central Trust of China, Postal Savings and Remittance Bureau of China, Central Cooperative Treasury of China, were called the "Four Banks, Two Bureaus, One Treasury" or "四行两局一库".
Currently, in the People's Republic of China, the Big Four commercial banks ("四大商业银行") are:
- Bank of China
- China Construction Bank
- Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
- Agricultural Bank of China
and have been described as such in the Western press. All four are state-controlled banks with commercial banking operations.
The biggest banks in Finland are:
Finland does not follow the Big 4 model so much as a model of 3 Major + 3 minor.
In the past, pre-1995, the situation was more akin to the "Big Four" model with SYP, KOP, Postipankki and Säästöpankki ruling the banking sector of the country.
This era came to pass, however, by a string of bankruptcies and restructuring.
In Germany, the largest four banks are:
In India, the largest four banks are:
In Ireland, the term "big four" applies to the four largest banks by market capitalisation. These all operate in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and have a wider international presence; these banks also issue banknotes in Northern Ireland.
- Bank of Ireland
- Allied Irish Banks (operates as First Trust Bank in Northern Ireland)
- Danske Bank (also operates as Danske Bank in Northern Ireland) - Irish Branch of Danske Bank A/S since 2007.
- Ulster Bank - Subsidiary of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group since 2000/2001
Ever since Danske Bank has phased out its personal banking services, it has been suggested that either KBC Ireland or Permanent TSB could replace, in the medium-term, Danske Bank in the "Big Four" ranking.
In Italy the term "big four" is not explicitly used. Banks are rated according to their market capitalization. The first four in 2015 are:
In Japan, the "big four" are:
- Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
- Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group
- Mizuho Financial Group
- Japan Post Bank
In Lebanon, where the banks have retained their banking secrecy laws since 1956, which is prevalent in the whole MENA region, and while adopting international measures to fight money laundering, the "big four" banks consist of:
- Audi Saradar Bank (founded in 1830 and ranked on the Forbes Magazine Global 2000 list of largest public companies in the world in 2016)
- Byblos Bank (founded in 1950 as “Société Commerciale et Agricole Byblos Bassil Frères & Co.”)
- BLOM: Banque du Liban et d'Outre-Mer S.A.L (founded in 1951)
- FRANSABANK (founded in 1921 as Société Centrale de Banque)
Furthermore, as of September 2016, there are more than 51 banks in Lebanon, one of the smallest countries in the middle east, the fact that has always made investors from the Arab countries, especially the GCC petrodollar in addition to the European and world investors, to place their funds in the Lebanese banks.
- Banque et Caisse d'Épargne de l'État (Spuerkeess), state owned bank
- Banque Internationale à Luxembourg,
- BGL BNP Paribas
- ING Luxembourg
It should be noted that there are bigger banks in Luxembourg, but these only deliver a limited number of services such as investment banking, private banking or corporate banking only. Luxembourg is a financial center.
The "top five" banks of Pakistan are:
In Portugal, the "big four" are:
- Banco Comercial Português (owned by Banco Sabadell)
- Banco Português de Investimento (owned by CaixaBank)
- Caixa Geral de Depósitos (state-owned)
- Novo Banco (former Banco Espírito Santo)
In South Africa, the "big four" are:
- Standard Bank (Not at all related to Standard Chartered Bank)
- FirstRand Bank (operators of First National Bank)
- Nedbank - owned by Old Mutual.
- Barclays Africa Group Limited trading as ABSA (also capitalised as Absa)- majority owned by Barclays since 2005; remainder owned by the public.
In South Korea, the term "Big Five", is used as opposed to four. The "big five" are:
In Spain, the "big four" are:
- Bankia (Bank of Madrid and Valencia)
- BBVA (Bank of Bilbao and Biscay)
- Caixabank (Bank of Barcelona and Seville)
In Sweden, the "big four" are:
before Siamese Revolution the banking system are control by foreign power particularly the "big four" European bank
- The Hongkong and Shanghai Bank in 1888 (Now HSBC)
- The Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China in 1894 (ฺNow Standard Chartered Bank Thailand)
- Banque de l'Indochine in 1897 (Now Banque Calyon a Subsidiaries of Crédit Agricole)
- Mercantile Bank of India in 1923 (์Now Citibank Thailand a Subsidiaries of Citigroup)
In relation to the United Kingdom, the phrase "big four banks" is currently used to refer to the four largest UK-based banking groups, being:
- Barclays Bank (now part of Barclays);
- Midland Bank (now HSBC Bank and part of HSBC);
- Lloyds Bank (now part of Lloyds Banking Group);
- National Provincial Bank and
- Westminster Bank
After the merger of Westminster Bank and National Provincial Bank to form NatWest (now part of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group) in 1970, the term "big four" was used.
In Scotland the "big four" were:
- The Royal Bank of Scotland ("RBS") (part of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group);
- Bank of Scotland (part of Lloyds Banking Group);
- Clydesdale Bank (part of CYBG plc); and
- Trustee Savings Bank ("TSB") (now part of TSB ).
In the United States, the "big four" banks hold 39% of all U.S. customer deposits (as of 2015), and consist of:
- JPMorgan Chase (headquartered in New York, New York, bank chartered in Columbus, Ohio)
- Bank of America (headquartered and bank chartered in Charlotte, North Carolina)
- Citigroup (headquartered in New York, New York, bank chartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
- Wells Fargo (headquartered in San Francisco, California, bank chartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
From a retail banking perspective, U.S. Bancorp (headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota/bank charter Cincinnati, Ohio) and PNC Financial Services (headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania/bank charter Wilmington, Delaware) both have significantly more branches than Citibank, the retail banking arm of Citigroup. However, Citibank still has significantly more assets than U.S. Bancorp and PNC.
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...The only banks with higher market capitalisation were Allied Irish Banks (AIB) and Bank of Ireland, both with strong retail and commercial presences. Ulster Bank and National Irish Bank are the other members of the ‘Big Four’ retail and commercial banks, both owned by overseas parents and not listed on the Irish Stock Exchange
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