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World's 10 biggest banks

Last updated on: July 22, 2011 08:36 IST

'It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning,' said Henry Ford ages ago.

One may or may not agree with what Ford said, but it is extremely important for investors to judge a bank's strength before putting their money into it.

Recently, a list of world's 10 biggest banks ranked on the basis of their assets was published. The list was sourced from Fitch Ratings, Thomson One Analytics and banks' annual reports.

Assets of BNP Paribas, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland are as of December 31, 2010 others are as of March 31, 2011.

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World's 10 biggest banks

Image: BNP Paribas.

Rank 1: BNP Paribas
Assets: $2.84 trillion

Headquarters: Boulevard des Italiens, Paris
Key people: Baudouin Prot (CEO)
Michel Pebereau (Chairman)

BNP Paribas is a major European bank. It was created on May 23, 2000 through the merger of Banque Nationale de Paris and Paribas.

It's history can be traced back to 1869, when a group of bankers and investors, including Adrien Delahante, Edmond Joubert and Henri Cernuschi, founded the Banque de Paris.

The bank employs 162,700 people and operates in 87 countries. The bank is active in the finance, investment and asset management markets.

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World's 10 biggest banks

Image: Deutsche Bank.

Rank 2: Deutsche Bank; Assets: $2.62 trillion
Headquarters: Frankfurt, Germany
Key people: Josef Ackermann (CEO and chairman of the management board)
Clemens B rsig (chairman of the supervisory board)

Deutsche Bank has offices in major financial centers, including New York, London, Frankfurt, Paris, Moscow, Amsterdam, Toronto, S o Paulo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Sydney.

The bank employs more than 80,000 people in 72 countries, and has a large presence in Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific and the emerging markets.

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World's 10 biggest banks

Image: HSBC.

Rank 3: HSBC; Assets: $2.60 trillion
Headquarters: Canary Wharf, London
Key people: Douglas Flint (Group Chairman)
Stuart Gulliver (Group Chief Executive)

HSBC Holdings plc is a global banking and financial services company.

It has about 7,500 offices in 87 countries and territories across Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America and around 100 million customers.

HSBC Holdings plc was founded in London in 1991 by The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.

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World's 10 biggest banks

Image: Barclays.

Rank 4: Barclays; Assets: $2.32 trillion
Headquarters: London
Key people: Marcus Agius (Group Chairman)
Robert Diamond (Group Chief Executive)

Barclays PLC is a major bank operating in Europe, the United States, West Asia, Latin America, Australia, Asia and Africa. It operates through its subsidiary Barclays Bank PLC.

It is the sponsor of the English Premier League.

The bank's roots can be traced back to 1690 in London. It borrowed its name from Alexander and David Barclay, who provided credit to slave traders. The bank is headed by Marcus Agius, the group chairman.

Barclays being a member of the global ATM Alliance, its customers can use ATMs of other banks free of charge.

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World's 10 biggest banks

Image: Royal Bank of Scotland.

Rank 5: Royal Bank of Scotland; Assets: $2.32 trillion
Headquarters: Edinburgh, Scotland
Key person: Stephen Hester (Group CEO)

The Royal Bank of Scotland plc is one of the retail banking subsidiaries of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc, and together with NatWest and Ulster Bank, provides branch banking facilities throughout the British Isles.

Royal Bank of Scotland has around 700 branches, mainly in Scotland.

The bank traces its origin to the Society of the Subscribed Equivalent Debt.

The latter was set up by investors in the failed Company of Scotland to protect the compensation they received as part of the arrangements of the 1707 Acts of Union.

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World's 10 biggest banks

Image: Bank of America.
Photographs: Reuters

Rank 6: Bank of America; Assets: $2.27 trillion
Headquarters:   Charlotte, North Carolina
Key people: Charles O Holliday (chairman)
Brian Moynihan (president and CEO)

Bank of America was formed after the consolidation of quite a few historical banks, the most prominent of those being the Bank of Italy.

In 1958, the bank introduced the BankAmericard, which changed its name to VISA in 1977. A consortium of other California banks came up with Master Charge (now MasterCard).

Bank of America has divisions in US, Europe and Asia.

The US headquarters are located in New York, European headquarters are based in London and Asia's headquarters are split between Singapore and Hong Kong.

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World's 10 biggest banks

Image: Credit Agricole.

Rank 7: Credit Agricole; Assets: $2.24 trillion
Headquarters: Paris
Key people: Jean-Paul Chifflet (CEO)
Jean-Marie Sander (Chairman)

Credit Agricole SA (CASA) is the largest retail banking group in France.

Credit Agricole is France's third-largest bank in terms of market capitalisation, with 59 million customers worldwide and 11,500 branches in 15 countries.

It is also part of the CAC 40 stock market index.

It was the title sponsor of the Credit Agricole professional road cycling team from 1997 to 2008.

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World's 10 biggest banks

Image: The JPMorgan Chase flag flutters outside its building (R) in front of the Bear Stearns building, NY.
Photographs: Chip East/Reuters

Rank 8: JP Morgan Chase; Assets: $2.20 trillion
Headquarters: New York
Key person: Jamie Dimon (CEO)

It was formed in 2000, when Chase Manhattan Corporation merged with JP Morgan & Co.

JPMorgan Chase is one of the Big Four banks of the United States with Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo.

It employs about 240,000 people.

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World's 10 biggest banks

Image: ICBC.
Photographs: Reuters

Rank 9: Industrial & Commercial Bank of China; Assets: $2.20 trillion
Headquarters: Beijing
Key person: Jiang Jianqing (Chairman & Executive Director)

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. is the largest Bank of China's 'Big Four' state-owned commercial banks.

It was founded as a limited company on January 1, 1984.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China provides financial products and services to 3.61 million corporate and 216 million individual clients.

It has over 18,000 outlets, including 106 overseas branches and agents.

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World's 10 biggest banks

Image: Citibank.

Rank 10: Citigroup; Assets: $1.95 trillion
Headquarters: New York
Key person: Vikram Pandit (CEO)

Citigroup Inc. was formed by combining Citicorp and financial conglomerate Travelers Group on April 7, 1998.

It holds over 200 million customer accounts in more than 140 countries.

Citigroup Inc. has over 16,000 offices worldwide.

The company employs approximately 260,000 people.