In this article, we’ve gathered:

The UK runs a highly developed banking sector. They have the largest banks in Europe. Meanwhile, they rank fourth largest in the world. They are also considered the largest financial center in the world for cross-border lending. All the banks within the industry vary in size and composition. And as a result of the variation, there are a few ones that are bigger and better when compared to others.

Here’s the list of the TOP-20 largest banks in England including the best banks in London:

  1. HSBC Holdings
  2. Lloyds Banking Group
  3. Royal Bank of Scotland Group
  4. Barclays
  5. Standard Chartered
  6. Nationwide Building Society
  7. Santander UK
  8. Close Brothers
  9. Schroders
  10. Coventry Building Society
  11. Bank of England
  12. Tesco Bank
  13. Bank of Scotland plc
  14. Royal Bank of Scotland
  15. TSB Bank
  16. Monzo Bank
  17. Starling Bank
  18. Metro Bank
  19. Aldermore Bank
  20. Atom Bank

Biggest Banks in the UK


Below is a table showing the TOP-10 banks in the UK with the most assets:

Rank Bank Total Assets (In billions of British pounds)
1. HSBC Holdings 1,936
2. Lloyds Banking Group 817
3. Royal Bank of Scotland Group 783
4. Barclays 1,203
5. Standard Chartered 526
Nationwide Building Society
Santander UK
Close Brothers
10. Coventry Building Society 51

1. The HSBC Holdings Plc

HSBC Holdings Plc is one of the TOP UK largest banks. It is, in fact, the 7th largest bank in the world. It was founded in 1865 in British Hong Kong. The bank operates four major business strands which include global banking, global private banking, commercial banking, and retail banking. They are presently spread across sixty-seven different countries of the world with 3900 offices.

2. The Lloyds Banking Group

This is another one of the TOP UK banks and the second largest. It was established in 2009 from the merger of HBOS and Lloyds TBS. The Lloyds banking group has its headquarters in London. The bank operates in several other countries within Europe, and even in other continents like Asia, the Middle East, and the US, and has a staff strength of about 75,000 employees. The group is organized into:

  • retail,
  • commercial banking,
  • insurance,
  • and consumer finance.

3. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group is one of the most popular UK banks. It is commonly called the RBS Group. The bank has its headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland, and has other offices in Europe, Asia, and North America. It provides several different banking services:

  • personal and business banking,
  • insurance,
  • corporate finance.

It is a holding company, and issues banknotes in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

4. The Barclays

Barclays is one of the major banks in the UK and ranks fourth largest. It is a global bank with headquarters in London. The bank’s services include:

  • wealth management,
  • corporate and personal banking,
  • insurance.

It started out in 1690 as a goldsmith banking business in London. But presently, the global bank operates within a large coverage of about 40 countries and has over 120,000 employees. In the industry, it is known as an innovative bank and is valued at £1,203 billion.

5. The Standard Chartered Bank

Standard Chartered is one of the main UK banks, although it doesn’t offer retail banking services in the UK. It is headquartered in London. And has about 1,200 branches in at least 70  and a staff strength of over 87,000 people. Most of its services are provided in other continents like Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. And about 90% of its earnings come from these continents. The bank’s assets are valued at £526 billion.

6. Nationwide Building Society

The Nationwide Building Society was established in 1884. The bank has its head office in Swindon. At the moment, the bank has over 15,000 staff all across the United Kingdom. Nationwide Building Society provides its clients with a wide range of banking services:

  • mortgages,
  • project finances,
  • savings accounts,
  • current accounts,
  • other types of loan schemes,
  • and much more.

In addition, the bank provides community-building loan facilities such as investment products and several types of financial plans for the purchase of different types of uses.

Nationwide Building Society has a combined total asset and net income of over £190 billion and £700 million, respectively.

7. Santander UK

Santander UK is a subsidiary of the financial institution Santander Group. It is one of the biggest banks in the UK. The bank operates out of London and was opened in 1988. Since then, Santander UK has employed close to 20,000 staff all across the United Kingdom.

Santander UK provides several types of banking services such as commercial banking services, corporate banking services, and retail banking services. Across the United Kingdom, Santander UK has over 800 branches, out of which 67 operate as corporate business outlets. Likewise, the bank operates several ATMs at strategic locations. Its clients also enjoy services such as mobile banking, telephone banking, and other state-of-the-art banking services.

8. Close Brothers

Close Brothers is another one of the largest banks in the UK. The bank has had its corporate headquarters in London since it was opened in 1920. Close Brothers Bank has three main banking divisions, which are property, commercial, and retail divisions. Within the three combined divisions, Close Brothers have employed more than 2,000 employees across all its branches.

The retail section of Close Brothers Bank is predominately concerned with providing financing for:

  • financial activities of individuals,
  • insurance companies,
  • retailers,
  • and car dealers.

The commercial section works closely with several companies that are considered small and medium-sized enterprises. On the other hand, the property section primarily works with property developers.

Close Brothers Bank has a combined total asset and net income of over £8.11 billion and £172 million, respectively.

9. Schroders

Schroders is one of the best British banks in the United Kingdom that has a total asset that amounts to £19 billion and a net income of over £470 million. This financial institution was established in 1804 with its head office operating out of London. At the moment, Schroders has a staff force of over 4,000 people.

Schroders has several international branches in locations such as Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Schroders operates three distinct sections, which operate independently. These sections are:

  • wealth management,
  • retail banking,
  • commercial banking.

10. Coventry Building Society

Coventry Building Society is a banking institution and a building society institution. The bank has a total asset that is over £51 billion and a net income that is over £160 million. Coventry Building Society has over 2,000 employees all across the United Kingdom.

Coventry Building Society offers its clients banking services for:

  • building services,
  • savings products,
  • mortgages,
  • brokerage services,
  • other insurance-related services.

11. Bank of England

This bank is the apex bank in the United Kingdom. It is one of the most popular UK banks. It has set the blueprint for the development of most central banks. In addition, the bank of England began operating in 1694 as a government-owned bank. Back then, the bank was owned by private shareholders. From 1946 until now, this bank is owned by the government. It is amongst the 10 oldest banks in the world. In 1998, the operations of the bank shifted into the hands of the country’s Treasury Solicitor. Now, this department handles monetary policies independent of the UK government.

The Bank of England essentially performs several functions. Some of these functions include:

  • issuance of banknotes,
  • regulation of currency,
  • regulation of banks,
  • development of policies,
  • and much more.

Within Wales and England, this bank directly handles the issuance of currencies. However, it only regulates the issue of banknotes within Northern Ireland and Scotland.

12. Tesco Bank

Tesco Bank began operating in 1997. Initially, the bank was managed and owned by the popular retail supermarket Tesco and the Royal Bank of Scotland. A few years later, Tesco purchased the shareholding section of the Royal Bank of Scotland. Therefore, the bank is currently owned by Tesco. Like most commercial banks, this bank offers customers a wide range of banking services:

  • savings accounts,
  • loans,
  • insurance,
  • card services,
  • and more.

Tesco Bank works seamlessly together with the Tesco Clubcard. So, customers can earn and spend points within Tesco outlets. For this service, this bank has one of the highest customer satisfaction.

13. Bank of Scotland plc

The Bank of Scotland is different from the Royal Bank of Scotland. It became a subsidiary of Lloyds Banking family after its collapse in 2008. However, the Bank of Scotland was initially established in the 1600s – a year before the Bank of England. Before the creation of banking regulations, this bank was printing its banknotes. Up till now, the Bank of Scotland is responsible for printing sterling banknotes that are in circulation in Scotland. Therefore, the Bank of Scotland and the Bank of England are the only two banks that are responsible for issuing currencies within the United Kingdom.

14. Royal Bank of Scotland

Here’s another one of the TOP banks in Scotland. This bank operates in Scotland as a commercial bank. Established in 1724, it is now a subsidiary of NatWest. Initially, the bank was created as a financial institution with ties to the Whig pollical party and the House of Hanover. At the moment, the Royal Bank of Scotland has more than 500 branches across the UK. It provides regular banking services including, saving accounts, current accounts, loans, and much more.

15. TSB Bank

TSB Bank adopted this name in 2013. However, it was initially known as Trustee Savings Bank. Now, this bank operates as a subsidiary of Sabadell Group – a Spanish financial institution. TSB Bank has several branches within the United Kingdom. It provides regular banking services to both private and commercial clients. Headquartered in Edinburgh, the bank has most of its customers in the city.

16. Monzo Bank

Several digital banks are operating in the UK, among these online banks is Monzo Bank, which began operating in 2015. As a strictly online financial institution, Monzo Bank offers its clients access to savings accounts, current accounts, loans, and payment options via the internet. With the Monzo Bank mobile app, users can easily track their savings while managing how they spend. Due to the efficiency of this bank, it has since its creation been able to attract more than 4 million clients. In addition, it is popular among the younger generation because of its budgeting tools, spending notifications, and user-friendly app layout. Like all conventional banks within the UK, Monzo Bank is regulated and licensed by Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Similarly, customers’ deposits that do not exceed £85,000 per account holder are protected due to the bank’s membership with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

17. Starling Bank

Starling Bank is another internet-based financial institution that was established in 2014. Since its creation, this bank has grown to offer different banking services, including personal accounts, business accounts, and other modern financial products. Also, customers of this bank can easily access different services via the Starling Bank app, which includes real-time spending and account management. Across the UK, this bank has a growing customer base of 2 million because of its flexibility and low fees. Like all conventional banks in the UK, Starling Bank is regulated and licensed by PRA and FCA. Similarly, customers’ deposits are insured by the FSCS for a specific allowable amount.

18. Metro Bank

Although the name sounds modern, Metro Bank is a bank that offers traditional banking services to customers. Established in 2010, Metro Bank has steadily grown to open more than 50 branches all across the UK. Within each branch, customers can access current accounts, savings accounts, and other traditional banking services. Many people are opting to bank with Metro Bank because it offers clients customer-based services, which enhances user experience throughout their branches. Furthermore, Metro Bank is licensed and registered with required institutions and organizations.

19. Aldermore Bank

Established in 2009, Aldermore Bank is a retail bank. As such, its customers can access different financial products without having to visit any physical office. Examples of products and services Aldermore Bank offers to include personal accounts, business accounts, loan services, and payment gateways. For people who like to access instant loans, Aldermore Bank is usually an option due to its low-interest rates. Also, customers’ funds are protected as the bank is duly registered within the UK. In general, Aldermore Bank primarily offers its services to small and medium-sized enterprises. As an online-based bank, Aldermore Bank has no physical branches. Therefore, customers access banking services through the internet.

20. Atom Bank

Atom Bank started its operations in 2013. As a digital bank, Atom Bank offers customers access to various banking services. With headquarters in Durham, England, this bank is considered the first internet-based bank that operated on the web. As such, Atom Bank is the financial institution that paved the way for other digital banks to spring up without physical branches. In addition, it was the first digital bank to access a banking license from the FCA.

Atom Bank is available to customers via web, iOS, and Android platforms. Additionally, clients can use the services of this bank via face ID and voice activation. With the help of these technologies, individuals can seamlessly open and manage their savings and current accounts. Likewise, customers are given access to mortgages and other loan facilities from the comfort of their homes.

Biggest Banks in London

NatWest Group

NatWest Group was established in 1968, and it is one of the best banks in London. This bank has its head office in Edinburgh. The bank provides thousands of people with direct and indirect jobs. It also provides banking services to thousands of people within London. Within the UK, it has one of the largest total assets.

Virgin Money

Virgin Money has one of the largest total assets in the UK. As a banking institution, it provides a wide range of financial services to Londoners. These services include personal accounts, corporate accounts, auto insurance, retirement packages, and much more.


Investec offers its clients specialist banking services such as corporate and private financial services. The financial institution is listed on the London Stock Exchange. It has a market value of over $3 billion. Investec has several branches in London and other locations in the UK.

The Co-operative Bank

The Co-operative Bank is a commercial bank that has its headquarters in Manchester. The bank also operates out of London. It operates within the confines of FSCS, which is a scheme that provides compensation in case of financial failure.

Metro Bank

Metro Bank is one of the best banks in London that has completely shifted the banking landscape in the UK. Established in 2010, it is amongst the high-street banks in the country. It has several branches in London and other locations within England. It offers its clients a wide range of private and corporate banking services.

Frequenty Asked Questions

What is the number 1 bank in the UK?

It is challenging to pinpoint the number 1 bank in the UK. Nonetheless, HSBC is considered by many experts as the number 1 bank in the country as it has a market capitalization of over $100 billion. Therefore, its value makes it currently the largest bank in Europe. Apart from its value, this bank offers individual and corporate clients a wealth of services, including commercial banking, investment banking, and retail banking. Furthermore, customers are mostly satisfied with the services offered by this institution as HSBC has over the years made significant investments in digital technologies.

Who are the big 4 UK banks?

These banks are referred to as the Big Four, which includes:

  • HSBC;
  • Lloyds Banking Group;
  • Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS);

These four banks have the largest market share and total assets in the country. In addition, these institutions have been in existence for hundreds of years, making them well-established in the country and internationally. Therefore, these banks dominate the banking landscape in the UK. Below are the figures for the estimated total assets and market capitalizations of each institution.

  • HSBC: $2.99 trillion & $100 billion
  • Lloyds Banking Group: $889 billion & $33 billion
  • Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS): $848 billion & $30 billion
  • Barclays: $1.88 trillion & $37 billion

Which UK bank is best?

Determining the best bank in the UK is somewhat of a stretch. This institution that can be considered the best can drastically change when the criteria for evaluating the bank change. In terms of current account holders’ customer satisfaction, Starling Bank is considered number one. As referred to as the digital challenger bank, this financial institution provides business and savings accounts to clients. Due to its services and customer service, this bank has been awarded as the best British Bank in the last 3 consecutive years. As such, most indices rank this Starling Bank as the best bank in the country.

Which bank is the safest in the UK?

Selecting the safest bank in the UK depends on multiple factors. However, the primary factor that makes a bank safe is the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which ensures you get £85,000 in the event a bank collapses. However, the condition is that the bank must be fully registered and licensed for you to enjoy this protection. In addition, you will want to consider the credit rating, capital ratio, loan-to-deposit, and credit default swap rate of a bank if you are worried about safety. Considering all these factors, the safest bank in the UK will have to be HSBC as it always ranks top five in all the categories listed.

UK High Street Banks

The term High Street Banks describes financial institutions present on High Street and within UK town centers. As such, these banks operate several branches, which ensure clients have access to savings accounts, current accounts, card services, ATMs, loans, and mortgages. The best-known UK High Street Banks include HSBC, Barclays, Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, and NatWest. Although most banks found in these locations are big, other smaller digital and challengers banks that fit into the category.

TOP Banks in Scotland

Scotland houses several top retail banks, which operate within the UK. In addition, it has multiple cooperative and small banks. Highlighted below are some of the top banks in Scotland.

  • Royal Bank of Scotland – is considered by many the biggest bank in Scotland. Established in 1727, this bank operates out of Edinburgh.
  • Bank of Scotland – is a retail bank that belongs to the Lloyds Group. Established in 1695, this bank also is headquartered in Edinburgh.

UK Banking Structure

Here is a description of the United Kingdom Banking Structure.

The United Kingdom has different banks, which can be classified into different types. In addition, these bank types ultimately depend on their structures, functions, and the entities it operates with. As such, some banks interact with institutions, while others provide a platform for people and businesses. On the other hand, some banks are concerned with the design and implementation of monetary policies. In any case, below are the 4 classes of banks that operate in the United Kingdom.

Central Bank

Within the UK, the Bank of England is referred to as the central bank. This financial institution has been in operation for over 300 years, making it one of the oldest in the world. Unlike other banks in the UK, the Bank of England is responsible for monitoring the banking sector by ensuring financial stability and producing monetary policies. In addition, this bank is responsible for issuing British Pounds, the legal tender within the country.

Business Banking

In simple terms, business banking refers to the banking services offered by financial institutions termed high street banks. These services are not provided to individuals but to businesses and corporations. Examples of such services include asset management, business loans, and bulk electronic transfer. Also, business banking facilities are extra services offered by high-street banks in addition to basic services.

High Street Banks

The term high street banks refer to a large portion of banks that operate within the United Kingdom. It refers to banks that operate multiple branches and offer retail services across the country. In addition, these banks curate products and services suitable for individuals of varying capacities. Likewise, they offer business banking services for businesses and corporations. For this reason, high street banks are found in the commercial centers of cities and towns across the UK.

Investment Banking

Investment banking is another service offered by banks in the UK. Also, they offer this service to individuals, corporations, and government agencies. In general, banks that provide investment banking services usually take money from customers and invest in bonds and stocks.

Recommended popular banking articles: