We provide a description of ownership patterns in the top 25 European banks for the period 2003–2015, where we especially focus on the global financial crisis. Investment managers, such as Blackrock, are dominant in terms of number of blockholdings in different banks, maintaining fairly stable “common ownership” networks throughout our sample. However, the financial crisis led to capital injections by governments in several banks in trouble, which in turn led to a jump in holdings by governments, which typically are “non-common owners” (i.e., they hold only shares in only one bank). This jump translated into these investors temporarily being the top investor with a large share, and non-common owners being the majority among large shareholders. A brief comparison with US banks uncovers large ownership differences between the European and US banking sectors. We briefly discuss what these ownership patterns might imply for competition, stability and performance in the banking industry.