Leading European banks ranked by tier 1 capital 2020

Tier 1 capital displays the financial strength of a bank as it shows the bank’s core capital including equity capital and disclosed reserves. Regulators use tier 1 capital for the purpose of ensuring that banks have enough capital in case of unexpected losses. As of 2020, HSBC had the highest amount of tier 1 capital of any bank in Europe with over 148 billion U.S dollars.

Tier 1 capital ratio

After the financial crisis it became clear that a lot of banks were running on too much debt and did not hold enough enough equity. Banks must have a tier 1 capital ratio of a minimum six percent, according to to Basel III rules. According to the European Banking Authorities (EBA) stress test, aggregated national results indicated that Europe’s banks had a higher than required amount of tier one capital even in an adverse scenario.

European banks appear safe for now

In 2018, all the European banks reviewed passed the EU-wide stress test. The EU-wide stress test is run in order to assess Europe’s banking sectors ability to withstand shocks to the market and to ensure a repeat of the financial crisis does not happen again. The test, which requires banks to have a ratio of over 5.5 percent for fully loaded CET1 capital saw Europe’s 48 largest banks score anywhere between 6.4 percent to 34 percent.

Leading banks on the European market as of 2020*, by tier one capital

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Release date




Survey time period

December 31, 2019

Supplementary notes

* Figures correct as of December 31st, 2019.

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