SNL Financial has released its annual ranking of the world’s largest banks by total assets, finding that China now has four of the five largest banks in the world after weakening currencies pushed French and Japanese companies out of the top five this year.
Paris-based BNP Paribas SA fell to No. 7 from No. 4 in SNL's 2014 ranking, as its assets declined to an equivalent of $2.568 trillion as of March 31, 2015 from $2.595 trillion in assets as of March 31, 2014. Currency conversion helped drive the decline, as the company's assets actually rose when measuring in euros, to €2.392 trillion from €1.883 trillion. Also departing the top five, Tokyo-based Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. fell to No. 8 from No. 5, partly based on a lower valuation of its assets in U.S. dollars.
According to the report, there is now only one bank in the top five that is not headquartered in China: London-based HSBC Holdings Plc. It ranks No. 4, with $2.670 trillion in assets, down from its ranking of No. 2 in 2014, with $2.758 trillion in assets.
The largest bank in the world continues to be Beijing-based Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., with assets calculated at $3.452 trillion. Replacing HSBC at No. 2 is Beijing-based China Construction Bank Corp., which moved up from No. 3 last year, holding $2.819 trillion in assets. The third-largest bank is Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., also based in Beijing, which shot up from No. 7 in 2014, and the fifth-largest bank is Bank of China Ltd., which rose from No. 8.
The largest U.S.-based bank, New York-headquartered JPMorgan Chase & Co., remains as the sixth largest bank in the world, but it would rank No. 1 if it followed the same accounting principles as the Chinese banks, SNL's analysis shows. U.S. banks report their financials in U.S. GAAP, while the largest Chinese banks report under the IFRS accounting principle. Under U.S. GAAP, banks report the net amount of derivative assets on their balance sheets, while IFRS companies must report the gross amount of derivative assets. If JPMorgan filed under IFRS, SNL estimates it would add assets of $1.249 trillion, bringing its total assets to $3.827 trillion, and making it the largest bank in the world. SNL did not perform the same analysis on banks that report under Japanese GAAP or other types of GAAP.
New entrants to the top 100 bank ranking are Beijing-based Bank of Beijing Co. Ltd. at No. 93 and Taipei, Taiwan-based Cathay Financial Holding Co. Ltd. at No. 97.
Falling off last year's top 100 ranking are Siena, Italy-based Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, which took 90th place in 2014 and Frankfurt am Main, Germany-based Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale, which had ranked at 98.
Sixteen of the top 100 banks in the world are in China, while 11 are U.S.-based. Europe, including Russia, houses 43 of the top 100 banks, down from 45 in 2014 and 47 in SNL's 2013 ranking.