While European banks count the cost of the eurozone sovereign debt crisis, China is leading the emerging markets into a new era of banking dominance. But the established markets of the US and Japan should not be forgotten.
Top 1000 World Banks 2012
A look at how The Banker calculates its Top 1000 World Banks ranking.
Many of the world's largest banks have seen their trading income fall in 2011, with only two – Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan – avoiding this fate.
Almost every region has recorded a fall in risk-weighted assets, but the soaring impairments in Europe raise questions about how rigorous the Basel methodology really is.
Asia-Pacific is the most numerous global region among this year's Top 1000 ranking, with its growth coming largely at the expense of western Europe and North America.
As the Asia-Pacific region accounts for 54% of total global profits, it is no surprise that no non-emerging bank appears in the top banks by profits-on-average capital.
Despite the uncertainty casting a shadow over global markets, the capital-to-asstes ratio (CAR) of banking systems across much of the world remain stable. But it is a different story in Western Europe where CARs remain well below the global average.
Emerging market banks lead the way on return on capital, with notable performances coming from Middle Eastern, African and Latin American firms.
Western European lenders have been overtaken by their central Asian counterparts for regional loans-to-deposit ratios this year, as Latin American banks climb to third.
Chinese banks dominate the Top 1000 Banks ranking's highest movers table for the third year in a row, posting their best performing year to date.
The Banker's tables recording NPLs, profit performances and low capital-to-asset ratios pours further misery on troubled Western banks.
Chinese banks dominate the ranking for best cost to income among lenders, while on a regional basis, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East all perform impressively.
Top 1000 World Banks 2012: regional results
Four Chinese banks are now in the global top 10, with Industrial Commercial Bank of China making significant headway by moving into third position, pushing HSBC out of the top three.
The earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster that hit Japan in 2011 does not seem to have affected its banks too dramatically, though its largest lender has been passed by two Chinese banks in the overall Top 1000 ranking.
When the Asian behemoths of China and Japan are removed form the Asia-Pacific ranking, Australia's 'big four' banks come to the fore, though Singapore and South Korea also feature prominently.
Brazilian banks still dominate the top four positions in The Banker's Latin American ranking, but Colombia's lenders have made significant headway, with three of the country's banks moving up the top 20 Latin America ranking, including Banco de Bogotá, which climbed five places to fifth.
Central and eastern Europe experienced Tier 1 capital falls across the board this year, but Russia's banks predictably dominate the top tier of firms and also witnessed a rise in new players in the regional top table.
The eurozone crisis has made its presence felt with regards to western European banks' performances in the Top 1000 ranking, with their share of overall profits down from 46% in 2007 to just 6.3% this year.
While the charge of the Chinese banks grabs the headlines, the big names from the US still lead The Banker's Top 1000 ranking as well as dominating the North American list.
As the Middle East increases its representation in the Top 1000 World Bank ranking after a drop in 2011, it is the the Gulf banks that are leading the revival.