A Note on the “Big Four” in Four Countries

In many countries across the world banking industry is dominated by a handful of banks. These banks are the largest in those countries based on factors like market capitalization, market share of deposits, home mortgages, etc. In a few countries just four banks dominate the industry. These banks are called as the “Big Four”. According to Wikipedia:

Big Four is the colloquial name for the four main banks in several countries, where the banking industry is dominated by just four institutions and where the phrase has gained currency.

In this post lets take a quick look at these four banks in four countries.

1) Australia/New Zealand: 

The big four hold most of the home mortgages in these two countries. These banks are: Australia and New Zealand Banking Group(ANZBY), Commonwealth Bank(CMWAY), National Australia Bank(NABZY) and Westpac (WBK). All four are excellent dividend payers. Their current dividend yields are 5.96%, 5.16%, 6.34% and 5.88% respectively.

2) China:

Similar to other BRIC countries, state-owned banks are a major part of the Chinese banking industry. The big four banks in China are Bank of China (BACHY), China Construction Bank (CICHY), Industrial and Commercial Bank of China(IDCBY) and Agricultural Bank of China (ACGBY).

3) Sweden:

Swedish banks are somewhat insulated from the issues affecting the Euro zone since Sweden has its own currency. Banks in Sweden recovered strongly from the financial crisis and are in a much better shape than their European peers. In fact all big four banks of Sweden raised their dividend payments last year. The Swedish big four are:Nordea Bank AB(NRBAY), Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB(SKVKY), Svenska Handelsbanken AB(SVNLY) and Swedbank AB(SWDBY).

4) UK:

The four major banks in the UK are Barclays(BCS), HSBC (HBC), Lloyds Banking Group (LYG) and The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS). Standard Chartered(SCBFF) is a major player in the international market especially in Asia and Africa.

RBS is majority-owned by the state.From an investment standpoint Barclays and HSBC are better bets now than others.

Note: Dividend yields noted above are as of Jan 14, 2015. Data is known to be accurate from sources used.Please use your own due diligence before making any investment decisions.

Disclosure: Long LYG, SWDBY, NABZY

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