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Updated on Monday, April 29, 2019
Chinese banks once again dominate the world’s largest banks by total assets in 2019, signaling continuing expansion in Asia, according to recently-released S&P Global Market Intelligence report.
S&P Global Market Intelligence releases its annual global bank rankings each year in April. The ten largest banks on the 2019 list barely changed from last year’s rankings.
China’s state-owned commercial banks, dubbed the “big four,” snagged the top four spots on the list, as they have since 2013, despite trade tensions with the United States amid a slowing domestic economy and weakening Yuan.
Two American banks made it into the top 10 list of the largest banks in the world. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America are ranking at number six and number eight, respectively. The remaining international banks on top 10 list of the largest banks are headquartered in Japan, France and the United Kingdom.
Large U.S. banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are not on the list because they are primarily investment banks. The S&P rankings are dominated by multinational retail banks that conduct business throughout the world and hold very large asset bases.
S&P’s Top 10 ranking of the largest banks in the world
|Rank||Bank name||Total Assets||Nationality|
|1||Industrial & Commercial Bank of China||$4.03 trillion||China|
|2||China Construction Bank Corp.||$3.38 trillion||China|
|3||Agricultural Bank of China||$3.29 trillion||China|
|4||Bank of China||$3.09 trillion||China|
|5||Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group||$2.81 trillion||Japan|
|6||JPMorgan Chase & Co.||$2.62 trillion||United States|
|7||HSBC Holdings||$2.65 trillion||United Kingdom|
|8||Bank of America||$2.35 trillion||United States|
|9||BNP Paribas SA||$2.34 trillion||France|
|10||Crédit Agricole Group||$2.12 trillion||France|
S&P analyst Saqib Tariq Chaudhry told MagnifyMoney that the domination of China’s state-owned banks has to do with China’s economic model. According to Chaudhry, this model is driven by an industrial policy that relies heavily on lending in the past decade; financing is largely funneled from the government through banks to corporations.
By comparison, the 2007 top bank list was primarily dominated by European, Japanese and U.S. lenders, Chaudhry said.
“The changing asset sizes among these banks is partly a reflection of their respective countries’ economic growth,” Chaudhry said in an email response. “While China’s economy also slowed materially in the years since the [credit] crisis … its GDP growth never fell into negative territory and in every year grew at a pace well ahead that of the U.S., U.K. and the Eurozone.”
#1 Industrial & Commercial Bank of China
The largest global bank, ICBC, is also the largest bank in China, which has $4.03 trillion in total assets.
ICBC is one of the Big Four state-owned commercial banks in China. It provides corporate loans, trade financing, as well as wealth management services for businesses, government agencies and financial institutions. The bank also offers personal banking: it issues loans, credit and debit cards to individuals as well as offers deposits and personal wealth management.
#2 China Construction Bank Corp.
The world’s second-largest bank by asset is China Construction Bank Corp., another Chinese state-owned commercial bank. It has amassed $3.38 trillion in assets.
The bank has hundreds of millions of customers, offering both corporate and personal services like asset management, financing, life insurance, investment banking and pension plans. Some of its major clients are large state-owned enterprises in infrastructure sectors. It operates in 29 countries and regions, including the United States.
#3 Agricultural Bank of China
The Agricultural Bank of China ranks third with its $3.29 trillion worth of assets.
ABC provides both corporate and retail banking products and services internationally. Apart from its domestic businesses, ABC’s international arm conducts corporate and personal banking, as well as treasury operations and asset management in cities including Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney, Dubai and New York.
#4 Bank of China
Another mega Chinese bank rises to the top of the global bank rankings is Bank of China. BOC has $3.09 trillion in total assets.
BOC is the most internationalized commercial bank in China. It provides a range of financial services from corporate banking, personal banking to financial markets services to customers across 52 countries and regions. This bank is also the oldest and largest Chinese bank in the U.S. — since 1981, BOC has been conducting businesses in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.
#5 Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group is a Japanese bank holding and financial services company headquartered in Tokyo. MUFG holds assets of about $2.81 trillion, ranking the world’s fifth largest bank by total assets.
The Japanese bank, like others on the list, provides a wide range of financial services, including corporate banking, personal banking and asset management, to customers in more than 50 countries and regions.
#6 JPMorgan Chase & Co.
The largest American bank by assets, JPMorgan Chase & Co., ranks at No. 6 this year with $2.62 trillion in total assets.
JPMorgan Chase is a global leader in investment banking, commercial banking, financial transaction processing and asset management, and provides financial services for consumers and small businesses.
The American banking giant would have ranked at No. 4, two slots higher, had it reported under a different accounting standard, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. JPMorgan’s current assets are reported under U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), the accounting standard adopted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Had it adopted the International Financial Reporting Standards, or IFRS, the international accounting standards used by many other multinational banks, the value of JPMorgan’s derivatives would have been bigger, according to a press release from S&P Global Market Intelligence.
#7 HSBC Holdings (HSBC)
The seventh largest bank by total assets is HSBC, the British multinational banking giant. Its assets are $2.56 trillion.
As one of the world’s leading international banks, HSBC has operations in 66 countries and territories and serves over 39 million customers. The bank has personal, commercial banking, private and retail banking options, as well as wealth management. It also provides financial services and products to corporations, governments and institutions.
#8 Bank of America
The second American bank that made the top 10 list is Bank of America. Ranking at number eight, Bank of America has $2.35 in total assets and is the second largest bank in the U.S. by assets. Compared with the 2018 rankings, BOA moved a spot higher this year.
The Charlotte-based bank has about 66 million consumers and small business clients. It provides banking and financial services such as wealth management, corporate and investment banking for corporations, governments, institutions and individuals in roughly 35 countries.
#9 BNP Paribas SA
The French banking giant dropped a spot lower than last year on the 2019 S&P Global Market Intelligence list; BNP’s assets total $2.34 trillion.
BNP is a leading bank in the Eurozone and a prominent player globally. Retail banking and corporate and institutional banking are BNP’s two main business arms, and its individual clients number over 17 million. Its financial services, including securities services, financing, treasury and financial advisory, reached corporations and institutions in 56 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas.
#10 Crédit Agricole Group
Holding total assets of $2.12 trillion, Crédit Agricole Group another French banking juggernaut secured the 10th place among all the largest banks. Crédit Agricole Group is a retail bank. It has 51 million customers, including multinationals, associations, communities and individuals, across 47 different countries.