Italy has 505 banks which translates to 25,400 branches with employee turnover of 278,200 members of staff. The Italian banking system had a major downshift in 2018 when the banking sector lost about 30 percent of its market value; however two years down the line things are shaping up. Discussed below are ten of the biggest banks.
- Unicredit SpA
- Intesa Sanpaolo
- Cassa Depositi e Prestiti
- Banco BPM
- Onte dei Paschi di Siena
- Monte dei Paschi di Siena
- Banca Nazionale del Lavoro
- Credit Agricole Italia
- BPER Banca
1. Unicredit SpA
According to the central bank of Italy, Unicredit SpA is the largest bank in terms of assets, loans as well as deposits. Posing with over 25 million clientele, and 4,500 branches of which 2,868 are domiciled within Italy it has offered employment to over 84,600 employees. At the end of January 2020, Unicredit bank had a market capitalization of US$31 billion.
2. Intesa Sanpaolo
In terms of branches and employees, this is the largest bank in Italy but the second largest in terms of assets. It posts around 11.9 million customers, who are served from 3,825 domestic branches and other 1,060 branches outside Italy. As at the end of 2019, the bank reported an income of €4.05 billion, with assets totaling to €787.7 billion. For the same period, the loans totaled to €394 billion while direct deposits accounted for €415 billion.
3. Cassa Depositi e Prestiti
Established as an investment banking group for national promotion, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, posts as the third-largest bank in terms of assets in Italy with its headquarters in Rome. The principal shareholders of the bank include the ministry of Economy and Finance and this has given the bank an upper hand in being the custodian for the Italian Postal savings which is among the sources of its financial resources. As at the close of the year 2018, the bank’s total assets stood at €425.1 billion and loans worth €105 billion.
4. Banco BPM
With 4 million customers, Banco BPM posts as the fourth largest bank in Italy, with most of its branches centrally placed in Lombardy, Veneto, and Piedmont. It is a result of a merger between cooperative banks of Banco Popolare and Banca Popolare di Milano (BPM) which took place in January 2017. The bank posts an employee base of 25,000 people and is headquartered in Milan and Verona. As at the end of 2018, its balance sheet consolidated the bank’s assets at €160.5 billion.
5. Onte dei Paschi di Siena
With a strong base in offering deposits, loans, bancassurance, asset management, investment banking, and online banking Monte has established itself as the fifth-best bank in Italy.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance posts as the major shareholder, with 68% of its shares and Assicurazioni Generali SpA has 4.3% shares.
It is one of the oldest banks in the world, established in 1472 and at the end of 2018, it sold its subsidiary Banca Monte Paschi Belgio to an American Equity firm, Warburg Pincus. It has a headquarter in Siena and had assets totaling to €143.59 billion at the end of 2018.
6. Monte dei Paschi di Siena
Monte dei Paschi di Siena is a bank with a long history in Italy. It was opened in 1624 and is considered the second oldest bank in the world. At the moment, it operates as Italy’s fourth-biggest bank within the retail and commercial banking sector.
Monte dei Paschi di Siena offers its clients a wide range of banking services, which include asset management, online banking, lending facilities, ATMs, different types of accounts, and much more. The government is the highest shareholder in the bank with over 60% shares through the Economy and Finance Ministry.
7. Banca Nazionale del Lavoro
Banca Nazionale del Lavoro was initially opened in 1913 under another name before it was taken over by the Italian Government in 1929. A few decades ago, the bank was purchased by a private business in 1988. In 2006, BNP Paribas – a French financial institution – purchased the bank.
Banca Nazionale del Lavoro has its head office out of Rome and is considered amongst the biggest banks in the country. It provides its clients several banking services such as savings accounts, current accounts, credit and debit cards, insurance, cash management services, and more. Banca Nazionale del Lavoro initially had an international branch in Argentina. However, this outlet was sold to HSBC in 2006.
8. Credit Agricole Italia
Credit Agricole Italia is another Italian bank that is owned by a French mother company named Crédit Agricole. The bank was initially named Crédit Agricole Cariparma before the purchase by the French financial institution. Before then, the bank began operations in 1859. It has over 2 million customers all across Italy.
Credit Agricole Italia bank has over a thousand branches and offers its clients several banking services especially small businesses. The bank is considered amongst the top 10 banks in Italy with the highest total assets in the last decade. As of 2016, the total assets and the net income of the bank exceeded €40 billion and €160 million, respectively.
9. BPER Banca
With headquarters in Modena, BPER Banca is one of the few banks in Italy that still offer conventional banking facilities to corporations, individuals, and government agencies. BPER Banca was created in 1867 after the merger of two banks. Now, the bank has managed to become the 8th biggest bank in the country.
Mediobanca was opened in 1946 and it has since operated as an investment bank that offers a wide range of financial investment-related services. Amongst the main financial services that Mediobanca provides its clients include principal investment, consumer banking, investment banking, and wealth management.
Mediobanca was instrumental in the rebuilding process of Italian cities after the destruction of the Second World War. The role it played made the bank one of the most trusted banks in the country. Over the years, Mediobanca has been able to open a handful of foreign branches in locations such as Madrid, New York, Paris, Luxembourg, London, Frankfurt, and Milan.