Chinese banks overshadow Western counterparts in latest global bank rankings

LONDON, May 16, 2018 — The latest global bank rankings report from S&P Global Market Intelligence found that Chinese banks continued to expand in 2017, accounting for a fifth (18) of the world's largest banks, collectively reporting $23.761 trillion in assets at the end of 2017.

Growth in assets of largest banks in Asia vs. other regions (%)
Growth in assets of largest banks in Asia vs. other regions (%)

China's 'Big Four' banks – Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China and Bank of China, remained as the top four banks by assets year-over-year, posting a combined $13.637 trillion in assets. This is up $1.727 trillion since last year's ranking, with half of this growth due to a strengthening yuan against the US dollar.

The U.S. had the next highest number with 11 banks holding $12.196 trillion in assets. However, Wells Fargo was pushed out of the top 10 spot by France's Crédit Agricole Group, while other U.S.-based banks also suffered ranking drops from the previous years. Goldman Sachs Group fell three spots last year to 35, Morgan Stanley dropped one spot to 38 and State Street Corp. fell ten spots to 100.

In Europe, HSBC maintained its position as the largest European bank with total assets of €2.100 trillion (US$2.522 trillion). It was the only European institution above the €2 trillion mark. Among the top 10 European banks, six posted a year-over-year decline in assets in euro terms.

“Asian banks continue to dominate the S&P Global Market Intelligence global bank rankings with Chinese institutions claiming the top four spots,” said JP O'Sullivan, Managing Director of Financial Institutions at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

“As bank profitability improves in terms of return on average equity, we expect banks to move away from cost-cutting and towards sustainable growth. In this low rate environment, growing the balance sheet can be an effective way to generate earnings. Moreover, as interest rates rise, we can expect a boost to bottom line earnings and this bodes well for future growth prospects within the banking sector.”

S&P Global Market Intelligence data shows that Chinese banks recorded the highest growth in assets in the past ten years. Nearly a third of the 20 largest S&P Global Market Intelligence-covered banks are based in China and reported an average of 190% increase in terms of asset growth over the decade.

Regional bank rankings from the worldwide bank ranking series include:

Notes to editors:

Please note that S&P Global Market Intelligence compiled the World Bank Rankings using data derived from individual bank's regional reporting standards. Banks reporting under IFRS have gross value of derivative assets reported on balance sheets, whereas reporting under U.S. GAAP, requires the net value to be disclosed.

  • In the latest ranking, company total assets were adjusted for pending mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, as well as M&A deals that closed after the end of the reporting period through March 31 on a best-efforts basis.
  • Assets reported by non-U.S. dollar filers were converted to dollars using period-end exchange rates. Total assets were taken on an “as-reported” basis and no adjustments are made to account for differing accounting standards.
  • The majority of banks in this release were ranked by total assets as of Dec. 31, 2017. In the previous top 100 bank ranking published April 11, 2017, most company assets were as of Dec. 31, 2016, and were adjusted for pending and completed M&A as of March 31, 2017. This is also the case this year, and will be going forward.

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At S&P Global Market Intelligence, we know that not all information is important—some of it is vital. We integrate financial and industry data, research and news into tools that help track performance, generate alpha, identify investment ideas, understand competitive and industry dynamics, perform valuations and assess credit risk. Investment professionals, government agencies, corporations and universities globally can gain the intelligence essential to making business and financial decisions with conviction. 

S&P Global Market Intelligence is a division of S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI). For more information, visit www.spglobal.com.  

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SOURCE S&P Global Market Intelligence

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About the Author: Stefan Kachakov

Stefan covers money and politics for Canadian Business Tribune. His work has appeared in the Toronto Star, Newsweek, Slate, The New York Observer, Money and The Huffington Post Canada. He is originally from Yellowknife.

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