A consolidation wave among US community banks has resulted in several being propelled into the Top 1000 in 2020. 

This year’s Top 1000 World Banks ranking has seen almost double the number of new arrivals compared to the 2019 ranking. Thirty-three banks from 12 countries have joined this exclusive club in 2020, up from 18 lenders last year.

US institutions make up more than half of the entrants, with 19 new banks gracing the table. The list is led by First Hawaiian Bank, which is the third highest new arrival and enters the main ranking at 559th place with $1.68bn in Tier 1 capital. At the beginning of 2019, the Hawaiian lender became fully independent after more than 20 years, following the decision by BNP Paribas to sell off its remaining stake. Year-on-year, First Hawaiian grew its pre-tax profits by 6.7%, to $382m.

First Hawaiian compatriot Amerant Bancorp, a community bank formerly known as Mercantil Bank, joins it in the top 10 new arrivals, entering the Top 1000 ranking in 787th spot with $892m in Tier 1 capital. This Florida-based lender was spun off from Venezuela-based Mercantil Holding Financiero Internacional (MHFI) in 2018, launched an initial public offering (IPO) later that year and then underwent a rebrand in mid-2019, abandoning the Mercantil name. In late 2019, Amerant purchased Grand Cayman-based Mercantil Bank and Trust from MHFI. Amerant increased its profits by 11.2% year-on-year, to $64m.

The past few years have seen a wave of consolidation among US regional mid-sized and community banks, which has catapulted several of them into the Top 1000 for the first time. For example, Indiana-based Merchants Bancorp bought First National Bank of Northfield in Minnesota; Tennessee-based FirstBank snapped up Farmers National Bank of Scottsville, Kentucky, and more recently acquired local competitor Franklin Synergy Bank; HarborOne Bancorp picked up Coastway Bancorp; and ConnectOne Bancorp acquired Bank of New Jersey.

Scaling up and geographically expanding their operations through acquisitions will help US community banks survive, as they face increasing pressure to modernise their business models and technology stack. To help keep more of them in business, the Federal Reserve has also lightened regulations on community banks.

At the top of the newcomers table, Estonian lender Luminor Bank is the highest new entrant in 2020, jumping into the main ranking in 536th spot. The institution was founded in August 2017, forged from the Baltic operations of Nordea and DNB. It reports Tier 1 capital of $1.76bn, total assets of $15.44bn, pre-tax profits of $67m and 900,000 customers.

In September 2019, a consortium led by private equity funds managed by Blackstone completed the acquisition of a 60% stake in Luminor for €1bn. Additionally, Blackstone has entered into an agreement with Nordea to purchase its remaining 20% stake over the coming years.

While China has only three banks in the new arrivals table, all place in the top five: WeBank, Bank of Baoding and Bank of CTS Jiaozuo.

Shenzhen-based WeBank, launched at the end of 2014 by digital giant Tencent to address financial inclusion for both consumer and micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) segments, is in second place in the new arrivals table and 540th in the main ranking.

Although it is not yet going toe to toe with the country’s megabanks, as China’s first digital-only bank, WeBank is a shining star for challenger banks across the world as to what is possible. It reported a 26% hike in Tier 1 capital, a 46% increase in pre-tax profits and has expanded its client base to more than 200 million, according to the bank.

Two other digital challengers entered The Banker’s Top 1000 ranking for the first time: Italy’s Illimity Bank, in 976th place in the main ranking, and Sweden’s Klarna Bank, in 977th spot. Milan-based Illimity (or ‘unlimited’) launched in March 2019 and specialises in lending to SMEs, including the non-performing or unlikely-to-pay segment. The bank increased its Tier 1 capital by more than 100% in 2019; however, it also oversaw a loss of $32m.

Stockholm-based Klarna Bank, which received its full banking licence from the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority in June 2017, also increased its Tier 1 capital, but by a more modest 29.8%. However, its loss was much greater, at $116m.

The UK has added two new entrants in the Top 1000 ranking: Provident Financial Group and C Hoare & Co. Provident, a lending and credit card company, has been in recovery mode since 2017, when it experienced problems restructuring its home credit business. It enters the main ranking in 774th place, increasing its Tier 1 capital by 16.5% on the previous year and reporting pre-tax profits of $169m.

C Hoare & Co, one of the UK’s oldest private banks, scrapes into the Top 1000 at 992nd spot, with Tier 1 capital of $488m. In June 2019, the bank opened a regional office in Cambridge, its first office outside of London.

Russia added one new name to the Top 1000 in 2020. Moscow-based Novikombank, which takes eighth place in the new arrivals table and enters the Top 1000 in 886th place, with $662m in Tier 1 capital. The bank, owned by Rostec State Corporation, specialises in the financing of enterprises in the heavy-machinery, automotive, high-tech, oil and gas industry. Since 2017 Novikombank has increased its Tier 1 capital by more than 340%.

Luxembourg’s Quintet Private Bank is the ninth highest new entrant, placing 902nd in the main ranking with $638m in Tier 1 capital. Formerly known as KBL European Private Bankers, the Qatari-backed mid-tier private banking group has a presence in six western European countries.

Rounding out the top 10 in the new arrivals table is Mexico’s Institución de Banca Múltiple, or Bancoppel, ranks 907th in the main ranking, with $622m in Tier 1 capital. Established in 2006, the bank is part of Grupo Coppel, which is one of the country’s largest department store chains. In 2019, Bancoppel recorded a 33% growth in both Tier 1 capital and pre-tax profits, as well as a 23.7% increase in total assets.

New Arrvials

Rank World Rank Bank Name Country Tier 1 Capital $m
1 536 Luminor Bank Estonia Estonia 1,760
2 540 WeBank China 1,741
3 559 First Hawaiian Bank US 1,677
4 690 Bank of Baoding China 1,196
5 711 Bank of CTS Jiaozuo China 1,119
6 774 Provident Financial Group UK 917
7 787 Amerant Bancorp US 892
8 886 Novikombank Russia 662
9 902 Quintet Private Bank Luxembourg 638
10 907 Bancoppel Mexico 622
11 908 Merchants Bancorp US 622
12 920 FirstBank US 602
13 928 HarborOne Bancorp US 590
14 930 CrossFirst Bank US 588
15 945 CresCom Bank US 566
16 949 ConnectOne Bancorp US 563
17 952 Tristate Capital Holdings US 558
18 955 Sampath Bank Sri Lanka 557
19 970 Horizon Bancorp US 531
20 973 Farmers & Merchants Investment US 524
21 974 Univest Corp of Pennsylvania US 524
22 976 Illimity Bank Italy 519
23 977 Klarna Bank Sweden 518
24 979 RCB Bank Cyprus 517
25 980 Midland States Bancorp US 517
26 983 First Foundation Bank US 513
27 986 Live Oak Bank US 500
28 989 Happy Bancshares US 489
29 990 Credit Immobilier et Hotelier (CIH) Morocco 489
30 991 Triumph Bancorp US 488
31 992 C Hoare & Co UK 488
32 996 QCR Holdings US 482
33 1000 Meta Financial Group US 476

Thirty-six institutions made it into the ‘welcome back’ table, which highlights banks making a reappearance in the Top 1000 World Banks ranking. China has the largest number of lenders in this list, with seven banks, whereas only five US lenders have returned in 2020.

Shandong-based Hengfeng Bank, previously known as Evergrowing Bank, is the largest of the returning institutions. It ranks 162nd in the Top 1000, with $9.74bn in Tier 1 capital. However, the bank faced some turbulent times in 2019 – it was bailed out by the government to the tune of $14bn and its former chairman was convicted of corruption and other crimes.

Its compatriot, Bank of Jinzhou, at 207th spot in the main ranking, also required $419m in state-engineered support in 2019. In July, ICBC, China’s largest bank, became its biggest shareholder. Bank of Guizhou, on the other hand, raised $699m from an IPO in Hong Kong at the end of 2019, increased its Tier 1 capital by 28.6% and grew its pre-tax profits by 21.1%, to $585m.

Hungary’s MKB, which was pushed out of the Top 1000 in 2019 due to insufficient Tier 1 capital to meet the minimum threshold, is back in the elite club once again in 964th place. It increased its Tier 1 capital by 11.7%, to $544m. MKB also reported a 67.4% jump in pre-tax profits year-on-year, to $147m.

Welcome Back

Rank World rank Bank Name Country Tier 1 Capital ($m)
1 162 Hengfeng Bank China 9,744
2 193 Yapi Kredi Bankasi Turkey 7,501
3 207 Bank of Jinzhou China 7,003
4 270 Bank of Guizhou China 4,824
5 334 Bank OZK US 3,423
6 394 Bank of Langfang China 2,722
7 475 Bank of Urumqi China 2,078
8 513 BancorpSouth US 1,876
9 530 Bank of Inner Mongolia China 1,786
10 591 Bank Pasargad Iran 1,523
11 683 FINECO Italy 1,217
12 705 Bank of Anshan China 1,135
13 733 Bank Rossiya Russia 1,039
14 789 Jysan Bank Kazakhstan 886
15 853 Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt Egypt 733
16 855 Banco BMG Brazil 723
17 879 SMP Bank Russia 678
18 914 Banque Nationale Agricole Tunisia 608
19 918 1867 Western Financial Corp US 603
20 938 Banco Compartamos Mexico 578
21 943 Bank Uralsib Russia 567
22 944 Asia United Bank Philippines 566
23 956 ForteBank Kazakhstan 555
24 960 Salem Five Bancorp US 551
25 964 MKB Hungary 544
26 965 Bank of Kaohsiung Taiwan 541
27 975 Bank Bukopin Indonesia 522
28 982 Raiffeisen Landesbank Tirol Austria 515
29 987 Hypothekarbank Lenzburg Switzerland 495
30 988 Bank of Jordan Jordan 494
31 993 Bank of Panhsin Taiwan 486
32 994 Obwaldner Kantonalbank Switzerland 486
33 995 Banque de Commerce et de Placements Switzerland 484
34 997 Bank Alfalah Pakistan 482
35 998 Anadolubank Turkey 477
36 999 First Financial Corp US 476


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