China’s ICBC leads ranking of the world’s top lenders for first time

Kasmira Jefford
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A CHINESE bank has come top in The Banker’s Top 1000 World Banks ranking for the first time, in a sign of the growing strength of China’s banking system.

ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China) has jumped from third to first place on the back of a 15 per cent increase in capital.

The bank’s move has knocked last year’s winner Bank of America back to third place while fellow US bank JP Morgan held onto second place.

China’s second largest bank China Construction Bank (CCB) also grew capital by 15 per cent and replaced Citigroup in fifth place.

The only UK bank in the top 10 is fourth-placed HSBC, which makes over half of its earnings in Asia.

China now has 96 banks in the Top 1000 including four in the Top 10. ICBC, CCB, Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China top the table for the largest profits.

Brian Caplen, editor of The Banker, said: “For several years now European and American banks have been stagnant and shrinking while Chinese banks have been expanding in line with the growth in the Chinese economy.”

Total profits of the Top 1000 are now back close to pre-crisis levels but European banks account for just 1.58 per cent of global profits compared with 46 per cent in 2006.