Chinese lenders maintain top positions on global banking rankings

Chinese banks maintained their grip on The Banker's latest ranking of the Top 1000 World Banks, helped by the outstanding growth of the mid-tier lenders and online lender MYbank. 

Chinese banks have maintained their grip on The Banker's latest ranking of the Top 1000 World Banks, helped by the outstanding growth of the mid-tier lenders. A strong tech sector also made an impact on the rankings with the entry of online lender MYbank.

For the second year running, the top four banks were Chinese, with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China topping the ranking for the seventh consecutive year, the global financial intelligence provider said.

China Construction Bank stayed in second place while Agricultural Bank of China moved to third place, pushing the Bank of China to fourth.

In 2018, the big four state-owned lenders increased their Tier 1 capital (a measure of a bank’s capital adequacy) in double figures, but this year — apart from Agricultural Bank of China which grew 11 percent — the large players increased their Tier 1 by 6 percent or less.

For China’s medium-sized banks, the same slowdown was not seen, The Banker noted. Bank of Guangzhou, for example, increased its Tier 1 by over a half and went up 84 places in the ranking to No. 223. Eight other Chinese banks increased their Tier 1 by a third, showing the continuing strength of the country’s economy.

Notably, MYbank, a digital lender affiliated to Ant Financial, showed up in the ranking for the first time and was ranked at 881.

“Together, China’s banks produce the highest banking profits of any country and nearly a quarter more than those of the US,” said Brian Caplen, The Banker’s editor, “ICBC is the world’s most profitable bank.”

In total, China has 136 banks on the list with a combined profit of US$312 billion, the highest in the world. ICBC delivered the largest profit of any bank with a net income of US$43.6 billion, followed by China Construction Bank (US$37.3 billion).

The Banker is a key source of data and analysis for the global banking industry and its Top 1000 World Banks ranking has been setting the industry benchmark since 1970, providing comprehensive intelligence about the health and wealth of the banking sector.


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