The largest banks in the world are a different breed than the thousands of smaller regional and local financial institutions. In fact, there are some banks in the world with hundreds of millions of customers, trillions of dollars in assets, and tens of thousands of physical bank branches. And many of the largest banks in the world are international -- only two U.S.-based banks make the top 10.

Bank of America Tower in Midtown Manhattan and surrounding buildings, wide angle upward view, New York City
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With that in mind, if you’re curious about which banks are the largest in the world, here’s a rundown based on asset size. To be sure, there are other ways to determine where a bank fits on the list other than assets, such as the size of its deposit base, but asset size is the most common method.

The 10 largest banks in the world

We won’t keep you in suspense. Here’s a list of the 10 largest banks in the world, arranged in descending order of assets. And you might be surprised at how many of them are international – in fact, two of the “Big Four” U.S. banks don’t even make the global top 10.

1. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Total assets: $5.54 trillion)

Similar to the United States, China has a “Big Four” when it comes to the banking industry. And because of the size of the Chinese economy, these are actually the four largest financial institutions in the world. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is the largest of the big China-based banks, and is a publicly traded company on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, with the Chinese government owning the majority of the shares. In addition to its main operations in China, ICBC has branches in several countries around the world, and owns several foreign subsidiaries.

2. China Construction Bank ($4.76 trillion)

China Construction Bank, or CCB, is a publicly traded financial institution that was founded in the mid 1950s. It has more than 14,500 branches in China, as well as overseas branches in most major financial centers around the world. Like the rest of China’s big four banks, CCB is majority owned by the state and is a full-service institution with hundreds of millions of customers. It offers personal banking, corporate banking, investment banking, and wealth management services.

3. Agricultural Bank of China ($4.58 trillion)

Agricultural Bank of China is also known as AgBank, and is the most recent of the big four Chinese banks to go public, having completed its initial public offering (IPO) in 2010. The Chinese government owns the majority of the bank’s stock. It has about 24,000 branches and about 320 million customers, including individuals and corporations.

4. Bank of China ($4.21 trillion)

Founded in 1912, Bank of China is the smallest of the Chinese big four, but is larger than all non-Chinese banks in the world. It is majority-owned by the state and is the most geographically diverse of the big Chinese banks, with operations in 27 countries around the world.

5. JPMorgan Chase ($3.74 trillion)

JPMorgan Chase (JPM -1.21%) is the largest U.S.-based bank and offers a full range of banking services. It's also the largest U.S. bank stock by market cap and one of the oldest banks on the list, with predecessor companies dating back to 1799. It has been around in its current form since 2000, when J.P. Morgan and Chase National Bank merged. JPMorgan Chase operates the largest investment bank in the world, in terms of revenue, and the bank has more than 4,700 branches.

6. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group ($3.18 trillion)

The 6th largest bank in the world is Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG -0.18%), the largest banking institution in Japan. In addition to its operations in Japan, Mitsubishi UFJ has subsidiary companies and joint ventures all over the world.

7. Bank of America ($3.17 trillion)

Bank of America (BAC -0.53%) is the second-largest bank in the United States by assets but has the No. 1 market share when it comes to retail banking deposits. It can trace its roots back to 1784, but has existed in its current form since the 1998 merger of BankAmerica and NationsBank. The company operates about 4,000 retail financial centers and has a large investment banking operation. It is also a leader in wealth and investment management, and that’s especially true since the company acquired Merrill Lynch during the financial crisis.

Did you know...

The largest bank in Europe and was first established in 1865 (in predecessor form).

8. HSBC ($2.95 trillion)

Based in London, HSBC (HSBC 0.97%) is the largest bank in Europe and was first established (in predecessor form) in 1865. HSBC is a very internationally focused institution with operations in 64 countries around the world. The bank has a massive commercial banking operation, and is a leader in global investment banking, as well as wealth management and personal banking.

9. BNP Paribas ($2.91 trillion)

BNP Paribas is a close second in terms of European banks and is based in Paris. The bank was founded in 1848. Like most other banks on this list, evolved into its current form through a series of mergers over the years. It has operations in several international markets, but notably not the U.S. since it sold its Bank of the West U.S. retail banking subsidiary in 2021 to Canada-based Bank of Montreal.

10. Credit Agricole ($2.67 trillion)

Credit Agricole is based in Montrouge, France, and originally was formed in the late 1800s to promote lending to small family farms in France. The bank has 53 million retail banking customers in France, and unlike most of the other banks on this list, Credit Agricole is primarily a retail-focused institution. Credit Agricole is the No. 1 retail bank in the entire European Union.

HSBC Holdings is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. JPMorgan Chase is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Bank of America is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Matthew Frankel, CFP® has positions in Bank of America. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. The Motley Fool recommends HSBC Holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.