China has become a banking powerhouse.
Four of the five largest banks in the world are Chinese, according to
SNL Financial’s latest global bank rankings. It’s a big change from the
past few years when only two Chinese banks made the top five.
Beijing-based Industrial & Commercial Bank of China holds the top spot
with assets valued at $3.5 trillion. That means the bank is worth more
than the entire value of the British economy. The only non-Chinese bank
remaining in the top five is HSBC, which is headquartered in London.
It fell several spots to position No. 4 this year.
The top U.S. bank is JPMorgan Chase (JPM), which ranks sixth with $2.6
trillion in assets. SNL notes that American banks calculate the value of
their assets a bit differently from international banks because of U.S.
regulations, so it’s likely that JPMorgan would rank higher in a true
apples to apples comparison.
China’s financial sector has been struggling in recent weeks after a major
meltdown in China’s stock market. On top of that, the Chinese economy is
slowing down this year. Even its large factory sector is shrinking.
But Chinese banks have still managed to grow, at least compared to their global
peers. Two banks that fell out of the top this year were France’s BNP Paribas
(BNPQF) and Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MBFJF). Both were hit by
weakening currency in their countries — the euro and the yen have fallen
substantially against the U.S. dollar in the past year. That makes their assets
less valuable in dollar terms.
Top 10 banks according to SNL Financial:
1. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (China)
2. China Construction Bank (China)
3. Agricultural Bank of China (China)
4. HSBC (U.K.)
5. Bank of China (China)
6. JPMorgan Chase (U.S.)
7. BNP Paribas (France)
8. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (Japan)
9. Bank of American (U.S.)
10. Barclays (U.K.)