China Consolidates Presence on The Banker’s List of World’s 1000 Top Lenders in the Wake of COVID-19


Chinese financial institutions have shored up their presence on the 2021 list of the Top 1000 World Banks compiled by British publication The Banker, abetted by the comparatively strong performance of China’s economy in the wake of COVID-19

The Banker’s list of the largest banks in the world, ranked on the basis of their tier-1 capital in tandem with assessment of 120 data points, featured nine Chinese banks in the top twenty, as compared to seven last year.

ICBC, China Construction, Agricultural Bank of China and Bank of China – all of whom are big state-owned Chinese banks – held the top four positions for the fourth consecutive year.

ICBC took the top spot on the list for the ninth consecutive year, with its tier-1 capital expanding to a record-breaking USD$439.9 billion. ICBC’s tier-1 capital increased by $59.7 billion compared to last year – an amount almost equivalent to all of the tier-1 capital of ING, the 36th ranked bank on the list. The Chinese mega-lender’s pre-tax profits have also hit a record-breaking $60.1 billion.

Postal Savings Bank of China (PSBC) – recently re-categorised by the Chinese central bank as a big state-owned bank, rose from 22nd position in 2020 to 15th in 2021, following a 32.8% increase in its tier-1 capital. Industrial Bank ascended by two positions from 21st in 2020 to 19th in 2021.

A total of 144 Chinese banks made the Top 1000 list in 2021, as compared to 143 last year, while their capital levels posted year-on-year (YoY) growth of 18.6%, compared to a global average of 12.7%.

The US is the only country with more banks than China in the Top 1000 ranking, at 178 in 2021, as compared to 184 last year.

The tier-1 capital of Chinese banks accounts for 30% of the global aggregate on the Top 1000, as compared to just 11% in 2011 and 5% in 2001.

China was also one of only 16 countries to see growth in the pre-tax profits of its top banks amidst the COVID-19 pandemics, with a YoY rise of 5.2%. Chinese banks comprise 37% of global aggregate pre-tax profits, as well as 69% of the total for the Asia-Pacific.

In 2021 China holds 25.3% of global banking assets ($148.6 trillion), accounting for 37.2% of profits. This compares to 13.5% of global assets for US top banks, and 18.5% of pre-tax profits.