Top 10 Biggest Latin American Banks

Top 10 Biggest Latin American Banks

7 Min.

Latin America is one of the fastest-growing banking sectors in the world. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a slowdown in the region's banking industry. Brazil, Mexico, and Chile are home to the top 10 Latin American banks. Brazil has the five largest institutions, while Mexico and Chile have three and two, respectively. Itaú Unibanco Holding SA, located in Brazil, is the largest bank in Latin America.


In Latin American banking, dominance is primarily observed in three nations. Brazil takes the lead with five major financial giants towering in terms of assets. Meanwhile, Mexico and Chile also house noteworthy institutions. Below, we present concise details regarding each of these financial entities, encompassing their total assets and a brief historical glimpse. These rankings are meticulously derived from the 2023 S&P Global report, focusing on total assets.

1.Itaú Unibanco Holding SA

  • Country: Brazil
  • Assets: $439.50 billion
  • Ticker: ITUB

Emerging from its roots traced back to the mid-1920s when João Moreira Salles entered the coffee business with Casa Moreira Salles, Itaú Unibanco Holding SA has transformed significantly. While adopting its current name and logo in 1973, the bank's focus shifted from servicing coffee growers to catering to the broader public. Presently headquartered in Brazil, the institution boasts assets totaling $439.50 billion, recognized by the ticker symbol ITUB.

Itaú stands tall as one of Brazil's premier private-sector banks, commanding a workforce of over 90,000 and serving a colossal customer base of 60 million. Extending its influence beyond Brazil, Itaú has established a footprint in 17 countries, offering a diverse range of financial services encompassing retail, corporate, and investment banking. The bank plays a pivotal role in facilitating mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

2. Banco do Brasil SA

  • Country: Brazil
  • Assets: $379.78 billion
  • Ticker: BDORY

Positioned as the second-largest bank in the region, Banco do Brasil SA stands as a government-controlled financial entity headquartered in Brasília. Established in 1808, it is one of the world's oldest banks and a pioneer among Brazil's financial institutions. As of 2023, Banco do Brasil employed nearly 86,000 individuals, extending its reach globally with branches, offices, and subsidiaries spanning over 20 countries.

The bank is a multifaceted institution, providing a spectrum of retail and corporate services to both individuals and businesses. Its diverse offerings include asset management, foreign exchange capabilities, and operations in various business segments such as insurance, pensions, capitalizations, and payment means.

3. Banco Bradesco SA

  • Country: Brazil
  • Assets: $340.41 billion
  • Ticker: BBD

Established in 1943 as Banco Brasileiro de Descontos, Banco Bradesco SA's mission was to target small business owners, government employees, and individuals with modest assets. In contrast to other banks of the time fixated on major landowners, Banco Bradesco prioritized a broader clientele. Early on, it embraced check usage, marking a pioneering move in the Brazilian banking landscape.

Operating from São Paulo, Banco Bradesco extends its services to over 77 million clients in the retail and corporate banking sectors. The institution's extensive network comprises 2,864 branches, with a workforce of just over 88,000. Beyond its core banking products, Banco Bradesco diversifies its offerings to include insurance services and retirement plans.

4. Caixa Econômica Federal

  • Country: Brazil
  • Assets: $300.63 billion

Founded in 1861, Caixa Econômica Federal, a private government entity deeply interconnected with the Brazilian Ministry of Finance, holds assets totaling $300.63 billion. As a pivotal player in executing income transfer programs and implementing national housing policies, Caixa plays a vital role in managing the country's principal lottery programs.

5. Banco Santander (Brasil) SA

  • Country: Brazil
  • Assets: $186.41 billion
  • Ticker: BSBR

Founded in 1857, Banco Santander (Brasil) SA is an integral part of a prominent European financial institution headquartered in Spain, with assets totaling $186.41 billion under the ticker BSBR. Since entering the Brazilian market in 1957 and establishing its first branch in 1982, Banco Santander's focus spans Europe, North America, and South America, including its digital banking services.

Brazilian operations, with 2,772 branches employing 58,505 individuals, cater to a substantial customer base of 63.3 million. The bank's influence extends beyond Brazil, covering Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, and Peru, positioning it as a significant player in South America. In 2023, despite the challenges posed by the depreciation of the real and currency rate fluctuations, Brazil's top five banks maintained their dominance as the largest financial institutions in Latin America.

6. Grupo Financiero BBVA México SA de CV

  • Country: Mexico
  • Assets: $158.31 billion

Bancomer, Mexico's largest bank by assets with $158.31 billion, operates as a subsidiary of the Spanish company BBVA. Established in 1932 as Banco de Comercio in Mexico City, the bank faced nationalization by the Mexican government in 1982. Under the umbrella of BBVA, Bancomer engages in a diverse revenue stream, encompassing retail banking, stock brokerage services, insurance, and mutual fund management. As of June 2023, Grupo Financiero BBVA boasted a network of 1,736 bank locations and 14,232 automated teller machines (ATMs) across Mexico.

7. Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB de CV

  • Country: Mexico
  • Assets: $106.12 billion
  • Ticker: GBOOF

In the aftermath of the 1990s Mexican financial crisis, Banorte, officially Grupo Financiero Banorte, exhibited opportunistic acumen. Seizing opportunities, the bank strategically acquired multiple financial institutions, expanding its footprint across the nation. Beyond retail banking, Banorte diversifies its offerings, including investment services, annuity and insurance products, retirement funds, and warehousing capabilities, managing assets totaling $106.12 billion with the ticker GBOOF.

8. Banco de Crédito e Inversiones

  • Country: Chile
  • Assets: $98.10 billion

Established in 1937, Banco de Crédito e Inversiones, led by the Yarur family's third generation holding 63.56% ownership, has evolved into a multifaceted financial institution. Originally focused on supporting small and medium enterprises, it has expanded its services, encompassing retail and commercial banking, investment banking, private banking, and brokerage/money management services for institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs). The bank's global footprint extends beyond its Santiago headquarters, with 197 branches and 11,514 employees in Chile as of December 31, 2022. BCI also holds ownership of the City National Bank of Florida and has established a presence in the U.S., Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, and China. Managing assets worth $98.10 billion, the bank operates without a specific ticker.

9. Banco Santander Mexico SA Institución de Banca Múltiple Grupo Financiero Santander Mexico

  • Country: Mexico
  • Assets: $92.97 billion

Operating under the umbrella of Santander Mexico SA Institución de Banca Múltiple Grupo Financiero Santander Mexico, the bank manages assets totaling $92.97 billion, lacking a specific ticker. Santander Mexico specializes in a comprehensive array of consumer products, encompassing mortgages, credit cards, and personal loans. As a division of the Spain-headquartered Santander, the bank extends its services to business clients, offering solutions such as pension planning, financing, and foreign trade services.

10. Banco Santander Chile

  • Country: Chile
  • Assets: 85.74 billion

Established in 1978, Banco Santander Chile initially focused on foreign trade. After acquiring Banco Español Chile in 1982 and merging with Banco Osorno y la Unión in 1996, it emerged as one of Chile's largest banks. The institution offers a broad spectrum of commercial and retail banking services, including loans in both Chilean pesos and foreign currency for diverse commercial transactions, commerce, forward contracts, and lines of credit in foreign currency.

Extending beyond traditional banking, Banco Santander Chile provides financial leasing, advisory services, investment fund management, securities, insurance, and investment brokerage. As of March 31, 2023, the bank's extensive network comprises 259 branches, with 9,928 employees in Chile, serving a customer base of 3.7 million.


In the aftermath of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Latin American banks are slowly recovering, mirroring the global banking sector. The 2023 top 10 list maintains remarkable consistency with the previous year, retaining the same ranking order. However, Grupo Aval Acciones y Valores SA, Colombia's sole representative, slid from eighth to 16th, leading to Banco Santander Chile SA securing the 10th position. Consequently, the list now encompasses three countries: Brazil, Mexico, and Chile, as opposed to the initial four.

Latin America