During the Goldman Sachs trial, Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs' CEO, became arguably the most well-known banker in the world. Prior to this SEC hearing, most people probably didn't know who was running the most powerful banks in the world - if they gave it any thought at all. Blankfein became the face of the subprime crisis' after-effects, whether he deserved to or not. In the large scheme of things, though Goldman Sachs is one of the largest banks in the U.S., there are still bigger banks stateside and much bigger banks worldwide. We'll take a look at these huge banks and the powerful bankers that run them. (To learn more, see Goldman Sachs: By The Numbers.)

IN PICTURES: Top 7 Biggest Bank Failures

The Public Face
Goldman Sachs is far from the largest bank in the world, but it is considered by many to be the preeminent investment bank in global finance. Lloyd Blankfein is currently the CEO and chairman of the board for Goldman Sachs and has been since 2006. Despite some people's opinion of Blankfein's maneuvers during the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009, the Financial Times named him "person of the year" for 2009. Blankfein received a $9 million (all-stock) bonus from Goldman in 2009, but he grew up in Brooklyn housing projects before making his way to Harvard, where he earned his B.A. and J.D. Blankfein's been working for Goldman since 1981, and he may be most known, aside from the SEC trial, as the banker who claimed he was doing "God's work."

Europe's Biggest Banks and Bankers
The largest global bank in the world is France-based BNP Paribas, which was named largest bank this year by Bloomberg, with assets of $3.2 trillion. This bank was formed through a merger of two of France's biggest banks, Banque Nationale de Paris and Paribas, in 2000. The CEO of this megabank is Baudouin Prot. Prot graduated from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) and Ecole Nationale d'Administration, and he took a number of positions with the French government before joining BNP in 1983. Prot became CEO of the world's largest bank in 2003. BNP Paribas is different from its large North American counterparts as it emerged from the financial crisis relatively unharmed when compared to their counterparts, and Prot's strategy for the company is seen as one of the reasons that the bank did so well.

Another of the world's largest banks is Munich, Germany's Deutsche Bank, which had assets in excess of 1.5 trillion euros in 2009. Deutsche Bank was founded in 1870 and today is listed on both the Frankfurt and New York Stock Exchanges. The CEO of this German behemoth is Josef Ackermann. Ackermann is originally from Switzerland and has been CEO of Deutsche Bank since 2006. He has also worked at Credit Suisse and served as a guest professor at the London School of Economics. Businessweek reports that Ackermann received compensation of nearly 10 million euros in 2009 at Deutsche Bank.

IN PICTURES: World's Greatest Investors

The U.S.'s Big Players
Turning back to North America, we'll look at one of the most powerful bankers in the U.S. Jamie Dimon is the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the U.S. by market capitalization. JPMorgan Chase has assets in excess of $2 trillion, and Dimon has been the CEO since 2004. Dimon got his undergrad in psychology and economics from Tufts University before getting his MBA from Harvard in 1982. Before becoming the CEO of JPMorgan chase, Dimon was one of the people responsible for forming Citigroup, and he was head of Bank One before it was bought by JPMorgan. Dimon and JPMorgan Chase were criticized during the TARP payments of 2008, as many questioned if JPMorgan really needed to be bailed out, but still accepted the TARP bailout, which it later paid back.

The largest bank in the U.S. by assets is Bank of America, with Brian Moynihan as its CEO. Moynihan graduated from Brown in 1981, and then received his Juris Doctorate (JD) from Notre Dame. Moynihan joined Fleet Boston in 1993, and Fleet Boston merged with Bank of America in 2004. Moynihan served in various positions at BofA before becoming CEO in 2009.

Dimon may have helped form Citigroup, but it is going on fine without him at this point, being helmed by Vikram Pandit since 2007. Pandit was born in India but moved to the U.S. when he was 16, doing his schooling there before becoming a professor at Indiana University and eventually joining Morgan Stanley in 1983. He became CEO of Citigroup in 2007, shortly before Citigroup felt the brunt of the subprime crisis and had to receive a large bailout from the U.S. government in 2008. Citigroup has assets of nearly $2 trillion and is one of the Big Four Banks in the U.S, along with Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo. (For more, see Banking Has Changed: What Does It Mean For Consumers?)

The Bottom Line
Along with Wells Fargo and its CEO, John Stumpf, these are the biggest banks and CEOs in the U.S., and some of the biggest banks and CEOs in the world. The men mentioned above usually keep a low profile, but they are partially in control of unbelievable assets and hundreds of thousands of staff.

Find out what happened in financial news this week. Read Water Cooler Finance: Steady Stocks, Big G's And Madoff News.

Related Articles
  1. Economics

    What is Fractional Reserve Banking?

    Fractional reserve banking is the banking system most countries use today.
  2. Fundamental Analysis

    Regional, Community Bank Stocks the Next Big Thing

    The very best opportunities are often in the less exciting stocks and sectors. Community banks may not be sexy, but they can be very profitable investments.
  3. Investing

    Why Is Financial Literacy and Education so Important?

    Financial literacy is the confluence of financial, credit and debt knowledge that is necessary to make the financial decisions that are integral to our everyday lives.
  4. Personal Finance

    5 Useless Financial Products That Will Disappear Soon

    Bank deposit slip: what's that? Everyday tools of our financial life that went from indispensable to obsolete.
  5. Professionals

    4 Ways Companies Can Relieve Workplace Stress

    Workplace stress can cost companies tons of money in lost productivity and absenteeism. Some of that is out of their control, but often they are the cause.
  6. Retirement

    Why Some Celebs Say 'No Inheritance for My Kids'

    To some of the super rich, inherited wealth is not the ultimate gift, it's a burden. Here's how their children—as well as charities—stand to benefit.
  7. Professionals

    10 Must Watch Documentaries For Finance Professionals

    Find out about some of the best documentaries that finance professionals can watch to gain a better understanding of their industry.
  8. Entrepreneurship

    Top 3 Most Successful African Entrepreneurs

    Discover the educational backgrounds and entrepreneurial ventures of some of the most successful and well-known African entrepreneurs.
  9. Investing

    Kevin O'Leary Biography

    Kevin O'Leary is a television personality, businessman and investor from Canada. A brash public personality with a net worth of roughly $300 million, he is considered to be the Canada’s answer ...
  10. Options & Futures

    Pick 401(k) Assets Like A Pro

    Professionals choose the options available to you in your plan, making your decisions easier.
  1. Who decides to print money in Canada?

    In Canada, new money comes from two places: the Bank of Canada (BOC) and chartered banks such as the Toronto Dominion Bank ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What are the risks of annuities in a recession?

    Annuities come in several forms, the two most common being fixed annuities and variable annuities. During a recession, variable ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Who decides when to print money in India?

    The Reserve Bank of India, or RBI, manages currency in India. The bank's additional responsibilities include regulating the ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the difference between a Debit Order and a Standard Order in a bank reconciliation?

    While both debit orders and standard orders represent recurring transactions that must be considered in bank reconciliations, ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How can I cancel a bank draft that I have purchased?

    It is not commonly possible to cancel or stop payment on a bank draft since it, in effect, represents a transaction that ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How does investment banking differ from commercial banking?

    Investment banking and commercial banking are two primary segments of the banking industry. Investment banks facilitate the ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Ex Works (EXW)

    An international trade term requiring the seller to make goods ready for pickup at his or her own place of business. All ...
  2. Letter of Intent - LOI

    A document outlining the terms of an agreement before it is finalized. LOIs are usually not legally binding in their entirety. ...
  3. Purchasing Power

    The value of a currency expressed in terms of the amount of goods or services that one unit of money can buy. Purchasing ...
  4. Real Estate Investment Trust - REIT

    A REIT is a type of security that invests in real estate through property or mortgages and often trades on major exchanges ...
  5. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has been held for over a year. Section 1231 property includes buildings, ...
  6. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!