HSBC Holdings PLC retained its place as Europe's largest bank by assets for the seventh consecutive year, according to the latest ranking by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
The London-based bank had assets totaling €2.234 trillion at year-end 2018, about €193 billion more than France's BNP Paribas SA, which was in second place with €2.041 trillion. Another French bank, Crédit Agricole Group, ranked third with €1.855 trillion.
Uncertainty over the future U.K.-EU relationship and worries about an economic slowdown in Europe weighed on European currencies through 2018. The euro and the British pound fell about 4.6% and 5.7% against the U.S. dollar, respectively, over the year.
The dollar is the reporting currency of HSBC, and its strengthening helped magnify the bank's asset growth to 6.39% year over year in euro terms. In dollar terms, its assets increased by just 1.44%.
(To see the full impact of currency movements on bank assets in euros, please view the spreadsheet linked in the Product Tips box below.)
Spain's Banco Santander SA overtook German peer Deutsche Bank AG in this year's ranking, to secure the No. 4 spot. However, a possible tie-up between Deutsche and domestic rival Commerzbank AG could result in a €1.811 trillion bank that would comfortably be Europe's fourth-largest.
German bank Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale moved up the most places, to 42nd from 47th, driven by its acquisition of Dexia SA's subsidiary in Germany.
Seven of the top 50 European banks are headquartered in Germany, and these collectively have €3.126 trillion in assets. France and the U.K. each have six banks in the ranking, which together hold €7.529 trillion and €6.025 trillion in assets, respectively.
Company total assets were adjusted for pending mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, as well as M&A deals that closed after the end of the reporting period used through March 31 on a best-efforts basis. Assets reported by non-euro filers were converted to euros using period-end exchange rates.
The majority of banks are ranked by total assets as of Dec. 31, 2018. In the previous ranking published April 16, 2018, most company assets were as of Dec. 31, 2017, and were adjusted for deals through March 31, 2018. No adjustments were made for differences between GAAP and IFRS filings.