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Portugal is a member of the European Union, operating a modern banking system that offers advanced financial products. Banco de Portugal is the Portuguese Central Bank, and it was created in 1846, which makes it one of the oldest banks that are still in operation globally. Also, several older banks have been in existence for almost two centuries within Portugal. Over time, these biggest banks have developed, merged, and grown to become the modern financial institutions in the country.

  1. Caixa Geral de Depositos
  2. Banco Comercial Portugues
  3. Banco Santander Totta
  4. Novo Banco
  5. Portuguese Investment Bank
  6. Banco Finantia
  7. ActivoBank Portugal
  8. Banco Credibom
  9. Banco Cofidis
  10. Caixa Central de Crédito Agrícola Mútuo

The central monetary authority oversees banks in Portugal, which are composed of 59 commercial banks, 86 mutual agricultural savings, and 4 savings banks. In total there are 4,326 domestic branches, 14,075 ATMs, 11,372 Multibanco ATMs and 284, 600 POS. Each bank provides clients a variety of banking options and coverage since each bank is created with a different mandate for operation. Also, several of these banks are subsidiaries or partners to other external banks within the EU, North America, and Asia. Banks in Portugal are open from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm Monday to Friday and closed on weekends and public holidays.

Although tens of banks operate in Portugal, some stand out and are considered more prominent than the others. Therefore, the top-10 biggest banks are presented and described in detail below.

1. Caixa Geral de Depositos

With headquarters in Lisbon and assets of over €89 billion, loans of €51.6, and deposits of €63.4 billion, this is the largest bank in Portugal, which is state-owned. To serve its clientele well, it provides world-class retail, commercial, and investment banking services which include loans, specialized credits in areas of manufacturing, asset management, real estate, and online banking. It was established in 1876, and by end of 2019, it was having 1,070 branches with a clientele base of 3.8 million clients. The bank operates in 20 countries and in four continents, with over 10,000 workers.

2. Banco Comercial Portugues

This is the largest bank in Portugal with a focus on the retail segment and having headquarters in Porto. The bank is part of the investor compensation scheme and Deposit Guarantee Fund. Notwithstanding, it still offers its clients access to conventional banking products and services.

Banco Comercial Portugues was founded in 1985 and operates 600 domestic branches, and 500 branches in other countries including Poland, Switzerland, China, Angola, and Mozambique. With 15,700 employees, the bank was ranked as Best Foreign Exchange bank in Portugal by Global Finance in 2019. At the end of the same year, the bank had a market capitalization of $3.3 billion. Banco Comercial Portugues has over 4 million clients within their business folder across the Portuguese states.

3. Banco Santander Totta

This is a subsidiary of Spanish Santander Group and the third-largest bank in Portugal in terms of assets. It has 7,000 employees and serves 4.7 million customers through 640 branches across Portugal. This is a private bank, and it was established in 1843 when it was called Banco Totta & Acores and Banco Totta later. In 2018, it was named as the Safest Bank in Portugal by Global Finance, and Euromoney recognized it as the Best Bank in Portugal. Banco Santander Totta operates over 1,800 ATMs all across the country. It also offers its clients savings and current account services, loan services, asset management, and several commercial products.

Over the past few years, Banco Santander Totta averages a net income of over €300 million with a combined total asset of €45 billion.

4. Novo Banco

Novo Banco succeeded Banco Espirito Santo in 2014 which was the second-largest bank in Portugal as of then. The bank was created explicitly by the Central Bank of Portugal to rescue the liabilities and assets of the failed Banco Espirito Santo. It provides its clients with a wide range of services, including retail facilities, investment banking, asset management, venture capital, insurance services, and much more. It has 400 branches in Portugal and a further 21 branches outside Portugal after closing a number of branches in New York, Nassau, Cape Verde, Venezuela, and London. At the end of 2018, the bank reported €52.6 billion in total assets €30.3 billion in customer deposits and €25 billion in loans. Also, in 2017, the bank made an income of over €400 million.

5. Portuguese Investment Bank

This is the 5th biggest bank in Portugal and was established in 1981, and it operates as a subsidiary of Spanish credit institution Caixabank. It has a customer base of 1.7 million retail and business customers through 421 branches, 40 investment centers, 34 corporate and institutional centers, 1 mobile unit branch, 1,340 ATMs and approximately 31, 000 POS terminals. The Portuguese Investment Bank mostly does not provide conventional banking services such as savings and current accounts to its clients.

CaixaBank Group currently holds one hundred percent shares, and it has been reported that by the end of 2018 the mortgage loans reached €1.3 billion.

6. Banco Finantia

The bank headquartered in Lisbon is an independent Portuguese biggest bank exclusive in private banking and corporate and investment banking — offering investment funds, portfolio management, securities, brokerage, and insurance services. Its net income via a 2016 consensus is valued at 30.7 million euros with  1.81 billion euros and 79.9 million euros as total assets and revenue respectively.

7. ActivoBank Portugal

Recognized for its adaptation and integration of digital technology in the finance sector, the bank was founded in Lisbon in 1994. It was first founded as Banco7 and was rebranded in 2010 to ActivoBank. The bank operates a transactional banking app that ensures a five-minute issue of credit and debit cards and opens an account in 15 minutes.

It offers services ranging from current accounts, mortgage loans, debit cards, credit cards, savings accounts, time deposit accounts, consumer loans, and car loans. As of 2015, the bank accounted for 730.67 million EUR in total assets and 33.26 million EUR net income.

8. Banco Credibom

A recipient of the Five Star Award for consumer credit, In 2018 Banco Credibom reported a net income account of 36.28 million EUR and 1,875.77 million EUR in total assets. It is a member of the French Crédit Agricole group. Its accounts cover current accounts, savings accounts, and time deposit accounts. Additionally, Banco Credibom provides commercial, financial products, and services to qualified commercial institutions and individuals.

9. Banco Cofidis

This is one of the largest banks in Portugal, it mainly provides consumer and business loans (credit cards, consumer loans, car loans, and student loans) to individuals and businesses remotely. The bank reported a net income of 28,83 million EUR and 561,75 million EUR in 2014. Headquartered in Lisboa, It is a member of Fundo de Garantia de Depósitos and engages in the deposit guarantee scheme of Portugal that applies to current accounts, savings accounts, time deposit accounts made by natural persons, legal entities and covers up to up to 100,000 EUR per bank per depositor.

10. Caixa Central de Crédito Agrícola Mútuo

Founded in 1984 to head the Crédito Agrícola Group and eventually expanded its operations in 1994 to become a universal bank. Its services include commercial banking, retail banking, investment fund, and asset management, Insurance current accounts, savings accounts, time deposit accounts, debit cards, credit cards, consumer loans, Mortgage loans, pension plans, and consultancy services.

The bank reported a total asset account of 17,988.44 million EUR and a 152.15 million EUR net income in 2017 and employs over 3,618 workers.

Conclusion

Portugal, as a member of the EU, has several big banks that operate within the company. Many of these banks (including the Central Bank of Portugal) have been in existence since the 1890s, which is considered one of the oldest in the world. Over the centuries, these banks have gradually grown into large financial institutions of today. The biggest banks in Portugal are a combination of commercial and investment banks. Many banks within the country are subsidiaries to larger financial groups that operate in several countries worldwide.