There are more than 45 building societies and 300 banks in the UK, making it the biggest banking system in Europe and the fourth largest in the world. The different branches of the UK banking system include:
High Street banks offer services to the general public.
Business banking services are provided by High Street banks in the UK in addition to ordinary accounts. They often include additional services and fees.
Investment banking services are usually offered by financial institutions on behalf of High Street banks, investment trusts, and pension funds. They invest money in stock and bond markets.
According to Moody’s, in October 2020, the outlook for banks in the UK is stable, reflecting the country’s intrinsic economic and institutional strengths, as well as Moody’s expectations that the debt will stabilize at its current level.
For anyone considering a career in banking in the UK, this list of the top banks in the UK is a helpful guide on where to start. To learn more, see all our lists of financial institutions.
The Top Banks in the UK are:
Founded in 1880, HSBC is headquartered in London. The bank employs around 85,000 individuals (including subsidiaries). It operates through Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets, and Global Private Banking segments.
As of September 30, 2021, it manages 511 branches of banks in the UK and another eight branches in the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
Net income: USD 5.23 billion (2020)
Total assets: USD 2.96 trillion (2020)
Barclay’s PLC was established in 1690. The bank provides retail banking, credit cards, wholesale banking, investment banking, wealth management, and investment management services. Headquartered in London, it employs around 83,000 staff.
Net income: GBP 2.38 billion (2020)
Total assets: GBP 1.38 trillion (3/2021)
Royal Bank of Scotland
Headquartered in Edinburgh, Royal Bank of Scotland was founded in 1695. The bank employs around 27,000 individuals. It operates as one of the banks in the UK through Personal and Business Banking, Ulster Bank RoI, Commercial Banking, Private Banking, RBS International, NatWest Markets, Capital Resolution, Williams & Glyn, and Central Items and Other segments.
Net income: GBP 913 million (2020)
Total assets: GBP 310.3 billion (2020)
Lloyds Banking Group
Established in 1695, Lloyds Banking Group is one of the oldest operating banks in the UK. Headquartered in London, the bank employs around 61,000 individuals. It provides banking and financial services under the Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, and Scottish Widows brands to individual and business customers in the UK and abroad.
Net income: GBP 1.32 billion (2020)
Total assets: GBP 869.50 billion (3/2021)
Standard Chartered PLC
Established in 1893, Standard Chartered PLC operates through Corporate and Institutional Banking, Retail Banking, Commercial Banking, and Private Banking segments. Headquartered in London, it employs around 82,000 staff. As of 2021, it operated 1,026 branches in the United Kingdom and 13 branches in the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
Net income: USD 724 million (2020)
Total assets: USD 804.90 billion (3/2021)
Santander Bank was founded in 1988. The bank employs around 21,600 individuals. It operates through Retail Banking, Commercial Banking, and Global Corporate Banking segments.
Headquartered in London, Santander manages a network of 841 branches and 67 corporate business centers and also operates through ATMs, telephony, digital, mobile, Internet, and intermediary channels.
Net income: GBP 452 million (2020)
Total assets: GBP 287.6 billion (3/2021)
Nationwide Building Society
Founded in 1846, Nationwide Building Society operates through its Retail and Commercial segments. Headquartered in Swindon, the bank employs around 13,000 staff.
The bank provides current and savings accounts, ISA accounts, residential mortgages, commercial real estate loans, project finance, social housing, personal and car loans, and home improvement loans, as well as loans to housing associations. It also offers protection and investment products, financial planning services, credit cards, current account overdrafts, and treasury, liquidity, and discretionary services.
Net income: GBP 618 million (3/2021)
Total assets: GBP 254.91 billion (3/2021)
Headquartered in London, Schroders was created in 1804. The bank employs around 5,000 individuals. It operates through Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets, and Global Private Banking segments. It manages 41 offices in 27 countries in Europe, America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
Net income: GBP 486 million (2020)
Total assets: GBP 574.4 billion (2020)
Established in 1920, Close Brothers is headquartered in London. The bank employs over 3,000 staff. It operates through its Retail, Commercial, and Property divisions.
The Retail division provides intermediate financing, principally to individuals, through motor dealers, insurance brokers, and retailers. The Commercial division offers secured lending to the SME market. The Property division provides residential development financing to professional developers.
Net income: GBP 109.5 million (2020)
Total assets: GBP 11.1 billion (2020)
Coventry Building Society
Headquartered in London, Coventry Building Society provides a wide range of building and financial services. It offers financial planning services, mortgages, investment services, savings products, brokerage services, as well as insurance products such as travel insurance. The bank employs around 2,700 individuals.
Thank you for reading CFI’s guide to the Top Banks in the UK. For anyone looking for a career in banking, this list is a great place to start your networking. Please also see these additional resources: