Top 10 Banks In The UK

The UK boasts of the largest banking sector in Europe and the fourth in the world with a total of 300 banks and 45 building societies. The top 10 banks in the UK comprise some of the top financial and multinational corporations in the world. The European nation is also regarded as the largest cross-border lending center in the world.

UK banks fall into four main categories;

  1. Central bank; the Bank of England or BoE is the UK’s Central bank and tasked with offering oversight to the financial sector in order to maintain financial stability of the country.  The Bank of England is the eighth oldest bank and maintains financial stability through adjustments to monetary and fiscal policies.
  2. High Street Banks; these are retails banks with operations in multiple locations and which offer financial services to the general public. They serve a wide range of customers as opposed to focusing on a specific market.
  3. Business banking; business banking services are offered by high street banks to businesses and business owners. High street banks offer these services in addition to what they offer to the general public.
  4. Investment banking; these are financial services offered to individuals, businesses, and governments investing in various investment instruments like stocks, bonds, and pension funds among others.

Below is a deeper dive into the top 10 banks in the UK;

HSBC Holdings

Founded in March 1865 in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) is the largest bank in the UK and the seventh-largest globally in terms of total assets. The bank has its headquarters in London, one of the top global financial hubs and offers a range of financial services including Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Global Banking, Commercial Banking, and Global Private Banking segments.

HSBC operates around 3600 branches around the world with a total workforce of over 226 000 employees serving more than 40 million clients. The bank had $3 trillion in total assets and a net income of $5.23 billion by the end of 2020.


Barclays is a global bank that offers investment and financial services in around fifty countries. Despite coming in second position, the bank is actually more popular than HSBC and offers financial services like savings and current accounts, corporate banking, insurance, foreign exchange, online banking, and money transfer among others.

The bank has its headquarters in London and a total workforce of more than 84,000 workers. In 2020, Barclays had a net income of $3.3 million and revenues amounting to $30 billion.

Lloyds Banking Group

Lloyds Banking Group was born in 2009 following the merger of HBOS and Lloyds TSB. The bank has 30 million customers served by 65,000 employees. Lloyds Banking Group offers its financial services through multiple subsidiaries like Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Bank, Lloyds Development Capital, Scottish Widows, Lex Autolease, Black Horse Ltd, and Agricultural Mortgage Corporation.

NatWest Group

With its headquarters in Edinburgh, NatWest Group was initially called the RBS Group and offers banking and financial services to up to 19 million customers. The bank has around 60,000 employees who work at its various branches and subsidiaries.

Key subsidiaries include Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, Child and co, Adam and company, Coutts, Uster Bank, Holt’s Military Banking, Lombard, Isle of Man Bank, and Drummonds. At the end of the year 2020, the bank had $61 billion in equity and $15 billion in total revenue.

Standard Chartered PLC

Standard Chartered plc is a global banking and financial services conglomerate that has operations in more than 60 countries and operates over 1000 branches. The bank has its headquarters in London and has employed close to 82,000 people spread out in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

Banking and financial services offered by Standard Chartered include personal and business loans, deposits, auto finance, wealth management, online banking, mergers and acquisition advisory, and international money transfer. At the end of 2020, the bank had $720 million in net income and $804.9 billion in total assets.

Santander UK

Santander Bank was launched in 1988 and is the largest foreign bank and third largest mortgage lender in the country. The bank has close to 21,600 employees who work in the bank’s various sections including Commercial Banking,   Retail Banking, and Global Corporate Banking.

Santander Bank has its headquarters in London and manages a network of 841 branches plus 67 corporate business centers. Customers can also access the bank’s services through mobile, ATMs, internet, and other intermediary channels.

Nationwide Building Society

The Nation Building Society is more of a mutual fund and the largest building society in the world with a membership of around 15 million members. Based in Swindon, Sout West England, the society has around 18 500 and offers multiple banking and financial services ranging from personal loans, mortgages, savings and current accounts, retirement and investment services, and credit cards.

As at the start of 2021, the bank had around $860 million in net income and around $355 million in total assets.


Schroders was launched in 1804, has its headquarters in London, and mainly specializes in asset management. The bank has close to 5000 employees spread out in Europe, America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Currently the bank manages 41 offices in 27 countries.

In addition to asset management, Schroders offers other banking and financial services like Retail Banking, Commercial Banking, Wealth Management, Global Private Banking, and Global Banking and Markets.

At the end of 2020, Schroders had $675.8 million in net income and $798.7 billion in total assets.

Close Brothers

Close Brothers is a merchant bank established in 1920 and which offers financial services like deposit-taking, lending, wealth management, and trading securities. The bank has its headquarters in London and has a workforce of more than 3000 employees spread in three divisions Retail, Commercial, and Property.

The bank, through its Retail division offers intermediate financing services through insurance brokers, motor dealers, and retailers.  The Commercial division is tasked with offering lending services to SMEs. On the other hand, the Property division is in charge of offering financing for residential development.

The bank had $152.3 million in net income and $15.4 billion in total assets at the end of 2020.

Coventry Building Society

Coventry Building Society offers a wide range of services in the building and financial sectors. The Society has its headquarters in London and employees close to 2700 across its branches.

Services offered by Coventry Building Society include mortgages, financial planning, savings products, investment services, insurance products, and brokerage services. At the end of 2020, the Society has around $141 million in net income and total assets amounting to $71.6 billion.

Final Words

The UK banking sectors is obviously among the most advanced developed and advanced thanks to adoption of latest cutting edge technology. The oligopolistic market is dominated by few global banks that make up the large chunk of the market share. 

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