Says The Banker’s Top 1000 World Banks ranking 2020

1 July 2020: China’s largest banks have increased their lead over American banks, according to The Banker's latest ranking of the Top 1000 World Banks. China’s Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) stayed top followed by China Construction Bank (2nd), Agricultural Bank of China (3rd) and Bank of China (4th). The ranking is based on Tier 1 capital, a key measure of banking strength.

China’s four leading banks grew faster and increased profits more than the four American banks in the Top 10 (see Table 1). Last year China’s big four banks were 51% larger in Tier 1 capital terms than America’s big four – this year they are 72% larger. Chinese banks in total increased their Tier 1 capital by 14% against 3% for US banks.

Chinese banking profits increased by 5.7% from $312 billion to $330 billion (see Table 2). US banking profits fell slightly and are now only about three quarters of China’s. China’s profits currently account for 28% of total Top 1000 profits.

Brian Caplen, editor of The Banker, said: “Like banks everywhere, China’s banks face challenging times ahead due to the Covid-19-related global slowdown. But they start from a strong position with high levels of capital and profits, and low non-performing loan ratios of 2% or less for the top 25 Chinese banks in the Top 1000.”

In 2020, China has 143 banks in the Top 1000, second only to the US. They have deposits of $24 trillion and loans of $18 trillion, both more than double the US figures. In the Top 10 of the banks with the highest pre-tax profits (see Table 3), Chinese banks have five entries including ICBC in first position and China Construction Bank (2nd).

This year marks the 50th anniversary of The Banker’s Top 1000 ranking. The first ranking in 1970 contained no Chinese banks (see Table 4 for the 1970 Top 10). With the advent of China’s Open Door policy in 1979, Chinese banks started to become more prominent and they have dominated the ranking since the financial crisis of 2008.

Today ICBC has assets of $4.3 trillion, 172 times larger than the $25 billion assets of Bank of America when it topped the first ranking in 1970. Bank of America, which placed sixth in the 2020 ranking, currently has assets of $2.4 trillion, 96 times larger than 50 years ago. Over the same half-century, the world economy has only grown 25 times, showing how the expansion of the banking industry has outpaced economic growth.

Top 10 Banks Top 1000 World Banks
Top 10 Countries Top 1000
Top 1000 Top 10 by Pre Tax
Top 1000 1970


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About The Banker
The Banker is the world’s premier banking and finance resource, providing global financial intelligence since 1926.
The Banker is the key source of data and analysis for the industry. The Banker’s Top 1000 World Banks ranking has been setting the industry benchmark since 1970, providing comprehensive intelligence about the health and wealth of the banking sector. To find out more visit
Brian Caplen has been a financial and business journalist for more than 25 years. He has worked in Hong Kong and the Middle East and reported from all over the world. He joined The Banker in 2000 and became editor in 2003.

About the Financial Times
The Financial Times is one of the world’s leading business news organisations, recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. The FT has a record paying readership of more than one million, three-quarters of which are digital subscriptions. It is part of Nikkei Inc., which provides a broad range of information, news and services for the global business community.


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