SNL Financial Ranks the Largest 100 Banks in the World

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According to SNL Financial's latest global bank rankings, 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.

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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.

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.

Methodology: SNL ranks the largest banks in the world by converting their total assets into U.S. dollars using the exchange rate as of the end of the period measured. Most banks were ranked by total assets for the quarter ended March 31, 2015. Changes in the rankings since 2014 are partly due to fluctuations in the companies' reported currencies against the U.S. dollar.

About SNL Financial
SNL Financial is a leading provider of financial information on more than 6,500 public companies and 50,000 private companies in business sectors critical to the global economy: Banking, Financial Services, Insurance, Real Estate, Energy, Metals & Mining, and Media & Communications. The SNL information service integrates breaking news, comprehensive data and expert analysis into an electronic database available online and updated around the clock.

For businesses and organizations interested in additional information or to receive a free trial of SNL’s global banking product, please email sales(at)snl.com, or phone +44 (0)20 7398 0873 (Europe, Middle East & Africa), +852 5808 1882 (Asia-Pacific), or +1 (866)296-3743 (America).

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Caroline Wright
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