The logo of the cantonal banks, with the motif of the cantonal banks
Cantonal banks (German: Kantonalbank, French: banque cantonale, Italian: banca cantonale) are Swiss government-owned commercial banks, which are provided by the canton in which they are based with a guarantee for the assets held there. Currently they are in the process of being partially privatised. The cantonal banks are organised and regulated by the Association of Swiss Cantonal Banks, with its office in Basel. As a group, the cantonal banks account for about 30% of the banking sector in Switzerland, with a network of over 800 branches and 16 000 employees in Switzerland.
There are 24 cantonal banks, one in each canton of the country, except for the cantons of Appenzell Ausserrhoden, which sold its bank to banking rival UBS, and Solothurn, which privatised its bank in 1995 after a scandal. Each bank uses a distinctive motif as the logo, with a cantonal colour on white used as the colours of the bank, e.g. light blue for Zürcher Kantonalbank (Zurich Cantonal Bank). Despite appearances, cantonal banks are not small private banks: in fact two of them, Zürcher Kantonalbank and Banque Cantonale Vaudoise, are the third and fourth biggest banks in Switzerland (after UBS AG and Credit Suisse).