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Europe's 50 largest banks by assets, 2022

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Europe's 50 largest banks by assets, 2022

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This article is a part of the worldwide bank ranking series.

The world's 100 largest banks, 2022

Asia-Pacific's 50 largest banks by assets, 2022

Latin America's 50 largest banks by assets, 2022

The Middle East and Africa's 30 largest banks by assets, 2022

Top 50 largest US banks in Q4'21

U.K.-based HSBC Holdings PLC reclaimed its title as Europe's biggest bank by assets, surpassing France's BNP Paribas SA by a narrow margin, according to data by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

HSBC, which ramped up its "pivot to Asia" transformation plan in 2021, held €2.597 trillion in total assets at year-end. The bank aims to invest around $6 billion in the region over a five-year period while withdrawing from retail banking in the U.S. and France.

BNP Paribas, which in December 2021 agreed to sell its U.S. unit Bank of the West to Canada's Bank of Montreal for $16.3 billion and plans to reinvest proceeds from the deal in a new strategy running to 2025, had assets of €2.554 trillion as of 2021-end.

HSBC ranked eighth on Market Intelligence's global bank asset ranking, while BNP Paribas slipped two notches to place ninth.

Another European lender that has opted to exit the U.S. retail banking market amid tough competition is Spain's Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, having closed the $11.60-billion sale of its U.S. business to The PNC Financial Services Group Inc. in mid-2021. BBVA remained in the 19th place on the list of Europe's 50 largest banks, with assets of €719.45 billion.

In contrast, Banco Santander SA, which has seen a steady increase in profits from the U.S. in recent years, has bolstered its exposure in unit Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. The Spanish lender also recently anchored its 2022 financial targets on expectations that it will maintain high profitability in the Americas. Santander dropped one notch in the asset ranking to place fifth, with €1.596 trillion in assets.

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Biggest movers

Italy's UniCredit SpA fell three places in the list to claim the 15th spot. The bank was in lengthy talks with the Italian government to take over bailed-out peer Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA but ultimately backed out of a rescue deal. Following the collapse of the talks, CEO Andrea Orcel said the bank is open to exploring M&A deals that reinforce its franchise and enable it to meet its return on tangible equity target. UniCredit was forced to drop plans to take over Russia's PJSC Bank Otkritie Financial Corp. earlier this year due to rising geopolitical tensions.

Spain-based Banco de Sabadell SA and Russia's VTB Bank PJSC each rose three places to rank 38th and 39th, respectively.

VTB, which is among Russian banks whose assets were frozen in recent months as part of international sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, had assets of €244.42 billion. Fellow sanctions-hit Sberbank of Russia had €482.37 billion in assets.

Ireland-based AIB Group PLC, which took part in the surge of deal activity in Ireland in 2021 after U.K.-based NatWest Group PLC and Belgium-based KBC Group NV decided to retreat from the Irish market, entered this year's list at 50th. Italy's BPER Banca SpA also joined the list, placing 47th.

French, UK banks dominate

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Overall, France and the U.K. have the highest number of banks on the top 50 list with six each, followed by Spain, Germany and Italy, each with five banks.

Four of the six French banks are in the top 10, while the U.K. has three in that group.