Awards: World’s Biggest Banks 2012

ANNUAL SURVEY: The Big Get Bigger

By Andrew Cunningham

Global Finance presents the World’s Biggest Banks. Total assets are once again growing.

The world’s 50 biggest banks notched up assets of $65,956 billion at the end of 2011, 6% higher than a year before. Leading the pack is Deutsche Bank, with $2,799 billion, roughly equivalent to the gross domestic product of France, the world’s fifth-biggest country. Last year Deutsche was ranked second behind BNP Paribas, which then had assets of $2,670 billion. This year BNP Paribas takes third place.

The 50th bank on this year’s list, LBBW, had assets of $483 billion. The top 25 banks on the list each have more than $1 trillion in assets.

Six Chinese banks feature among the biggest 50—the same as last year—but their weighting has increased. Combined, they had $9.8 trillion in assets, compared with $8.2 trillion last year, and accounted for 15% of the total assets of the top 50, up from 12% last year and 10% in 2010. The biggest Chinese bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, is now the fourth-largest bank in the world.

After China, British banks make the biggest contribution to the top 50. The five UK banks on the list totaled $9,402 billion in assets and account for 14% of the total. Five US banks also feature, with a total of $8,525 billion in assets, and five French banks, with $8,470 billion, each nation accounting for 13% of the total.

Four Japanese banks accounted for $6,845 billion in assets, and five German banks accounted for $5,304 billion of the total assets of the top 50.

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