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Leading European banks ranked by return on capital 2019

Return on capital (ROC) is used by financial companies such as banks not only as a measurement of profitability, but as an indication of the banks' ability to create value on the amount invested by the shareholders. Of Europe's largest banks, it was the Russian bank Sberbank that had the highest return on capital at 22.08.

Pre-tax profit

Pre-tax profit displays the amount profit a company has made before paying corporate income taxes. Essentially, it is the calculation of deducting all expenses from revenue except taxes. As of 2019, HSBC had the highest amount of pre-tax profit of any bank in Europe with almost 20 billion U.S dollars.

Other measurements of a banks size

Another way in measuring a bank's strength, size and health is through its total assets. Total assets are one of the main measures of a bank's prosperity and is defined as all assets owned by a bank. This includes, but is not limited to; cash and balances, loans and advances to banks and customers, as well as debt securities. Europe’s largest bank in 2018 had more than 2.2 trillion euros in total assets. Market capitalization, which is often used as a measurement of a company’s size is calculated by multiplying the number of outstanding shares by the cost of one share. Market Capitalization is an important metric for investors as it is simple to calculate and is also a good indicator for risk-assessment.

Leading banks on the European market as of 2019*, by return on capital

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Release date




Survey time period

December 31, 2018

Supplementary notes

* Figures correct as of December 31, 2018.

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