World’s Safest Banks 2022 Biggest Emerging Market Banks

China and South Korea continue to dominate the biggest banks in emerging markets, but India is catching up.

China has long occupied a large and increasing portion of our annual ranking of the 50 Biggest Emerging Markets Banks. Although this year is no different, it serves as an important benchmark given the growing level of economic stress in China due in part to surging inflation, “zero-Covid” lockdowns and yet another growing real estate crisis.

The IMF 2022 GDP growth of 3.2%, with 2023 growth projected to rebound slightly to 4.4%, is still far below Beijing’s stated policy goal of 5.5%. To combat these sorts of economic downturns, Beijing frequently launches large infrastructure projects to stimulate the economy and typically utilizes its large state-owned policy banks in financing them. This contributes to China’s dominant presence on the list: Chinese banks hold the top 15 spots and half of the entire ranking. This is unchanged year over year, as Bank of Jiangsu, a new entrant at No. 20 following Moody’s initiating coverage in June, pushed out Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank. Asset levels among the Chinese banks increased as well; they now account for 84% of the total $45 trillion in assets held by the top 50 Biggest Emerging Markets Banks, up from 82% last year.

South Korea is represented by seven banks this year, and India’s presence expanded to five banks with the addition Bank of Baroda at No. 50. With Brazil in recession, its banks have dropped in the ranking. Consequently, Itaú Unibanco, Banco do Brasil, Banco Bradesco and Caixa Economica Federal each dropped between one and six positions. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is now represented in our ranking, with Saudi National Bank as a new entrant at No. 41 following its merger with Samba Financial Group. Due to the European Union’s embargo on Russia, Sberbank and Bank VTB are no longer eligible under our criteria and are excluded from this year’s rankings.