10 Largest Banks in the World in 2012

10 largest banks in the world published

What would it be like working with one of the largest largest banks in the world? It is probably gonna be one stressful undertaking, but with lots of bonuses at the year-end. After all, with big money, comes big fat paycheck.

Following are the list of ten largest banks in the world, ranked by their size of market capitalization as of January 2012. Market capitalization—market cap it is formally referred as—is defined as the total market value of outstanding or trade-able shares. Even though may not be accurate, market cap is one of the few sensible ways to estimate a company’s size or net worth. Other methods in measuring the size of a company include analyzing its sales and profitability.

1. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC)
Country: China
Market cap: US$240. 95b

2. China Construction Bank
Country: China
Market cap: US$195.85b

3. Wells Fargo & Co
Country: US
Market cap: US$160.72b

4. HSBC Holdings
Country: UK
Market cap: US$150.90b

5. Agricultural Bank of China
Country: China
Market cap: US$141.73b

6. JP Morgan Chase
Country: US
Market cap: US$140.95b

7. Bank of China
Country: US
Market cap: US$128.80b

8. Itau Unibanco
Country: Brazil
Market cap: US$88.7b

9. Citigroup
Country: US
Market cap: US$886.67b

10. Commonwealth
Country: Australia
Market cap: US$82.62b

One compelling finding on this latest bank size ranking is the immense presence of major banks from China that would certainly make the western big banks sweat. Nevertheless, the fact that China had surpassed both the United States and Japan as the world’s largest economy does not make the list at all unrealistic. In the next couple of decades, China is expected to dominate the economy through strong financial, investment and technology advancements.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, ICBC sits at the top of the list with market cap value of US$240.95b (Note that it was also the world’s largest bank in 2008). This is followed quite closely from another bank from China, the China Construction Bank. Two other banks—the Agricultural Bank of China and Bank of China—are listed in still respectable rank, which are fifth and seven respectively.

US’ Wells Fargo and UK’s HSBC are sandwiched at third and fourth between two China banks. In 2011, Wells Fargo was named as the 23rd largest company in America, and ranks alongside Bank of America, Citigroup and JP Morgan as “the Big Four Banks” in the United States. On the other hand, last year, HSBC was ranked as the second largest public company by Forbes magazine via a composite measurement.

The remaining banks in the top-ten list are: JP Morgan Chase (US), Itau Unibanco (Brazil) and Commonwealth (Australia). Brazil’s Itau Unibanco is presently the biggest financial institution in the Southern Hemisphere (all zones south of the equator line), whereas the Commonwealth Bank of Australia operates mainly across New Zealand, Fiji, US, UK and Asia.