Despite an economic slowdown on the back of global trade tensions, China's largest banks continued to grow in 2019 and further embedded their positions among the world's biggest banks, S&P Global Market Intelligence's annual global bank ranking shows.
China's "Big Four" — Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., China Construction Bank Corp., Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. and Bank of China Ltd. — all maintained their positions as the four largest banks in the world, posting a combined asset value of $14.821 trillion, up 7.52% from the prior year's ranking. Other Chinese banks also saw strong asset growth compared to their global peers; nine of the remaining 15 Chinese banks on the top-100 list ranked higher this year than they had previously.
For 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 the banks were ranked by total assets as of Dec. 31, 2019. In the previous ranking published April 5, 2019, most company assets were as of Dec. 31, 2018, and were adjusted for pending and completed M&A as of March 31, 2019.
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Among the notable movements in this year's ranking was London-based Barclays PLC, which moved up two spots on the ranking to No. 18. The bank's 2019-end assets were US$56.89 billion higher than their value had exchange rates remained constant from last year. The British pound gained about 4% against the U.S. dollar over the course of 2019. (To see the full impact of currency conversions on the 100 largest banks, download the Excel file linked above).
Italy-based Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, however, leapfrogged the greatest number of banks on the latest ranking, rising to No. 27 from No. 35, bolstered in part by its pending acquisition of Unione di Banche Italiane SpA. Conversely, Germany-based Commerzbank AG slipped six spots to No. 62, with $478.40 billion in assets, after adjusting for its pending sale of mBank SA.
U.K.-based HSBC Holdings PLC overtook U.S.-based JPMorgan Chase & Co. in this year's ranking to become the No. 6 biggest bank after posting a 6.14% increase in assets at the end of 2019, hitting $2.715 trillion.
But while JPMorgan Chase slipped one spot to No. 7, it continues to be the largest bank in the United States. The banking giant would have ranked two spots higher, at No. 5, had it reported in IFRS instead of U.S. GAAP. Under IFRS, the gross value of derivatives are reported while U.S. GAAP requires the net value to be reflected.
This year's ranking also includes three new entrants, including Raiffeisen Gruppe Switzerland which landed on the No. 99 spot with $256.43 billion, and Qatar National Bank (QPSC) which landed on No. 96 with assets of $259.48 billion. With assets of $473.08 billion for the No. 63 spot, this year also marks the first appearance for Truist Financial Corp., the entity created from the 2019 merger of BB&T Corp. and SunTrust Banks Inc. However, the pro forma assets of the combined entity were considered in the previous ranking and clocked it at No. 62 last year.
China remains to be home to the greatest number of top 100 banks, with 19 institutions collectively holding assets worth $25.814 trillion. The U.S. followed next with 11 institutions holding combined assets of $13.039 trillion.
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