The biggest banks in South Africa vs the world

The Banker has published its latest ranking of the top 1000 banks in the world – including the biggest players in South Africa.

Standard Bank has again topped the ranking for South Africa, with the group recording tier 1 capital of $10.13 billion in 2018, significantly higher than the $8.6 billion recorded in 2017.

The group is followed by FirstRand, which recorded $8.43 billion.

Absa bank, which is now being included in the African ranking, following its separation from Barclays, now occupies the third spot in the Africa regional table and 184th in the global ranking with $7.7 billion in Tier 1 capital.

Nedbank, which was ranked third in 2017, now slips to fourth, but also managed to grow its Tier 1 capital to $5.74 billion.

“Africa’s economic fortunes improved over the 2017 review period following a difficult couple of years in which lower commodity prices hit the performance of the continent’s largest markets,” The Banker said.

“This slowly improving economic climate is reflected in the growth trajectory of Africa’s banks which have, across the board, posted relatively strong numbers in the 2018 Top 1000 World Banks ranking.”

This is how South Africa’s banks performed:

SA # # Bank Tier 1 Capital $m
1 145 Standard Bank 10 129
2 173 FirstRand 8 425
3 184 Absa 7 752
4 217 Nedbank 5 741
5 338 Investec 3 163
6 579 Capitec 1 488

While occupying most of the top 5 banks in Africa, all of South Africa’s banks features as some of the biggest growers over the past year, recording double-digit growth in Tier 1 Capital across the board.

Capitec saw the biggest increase in Tier 1 capital, climbing just over 29%, followed by FirstRand which saw its Tier 1 capital grow 22% over the period.

Absa, Nedbank and Investec saw their capital grow by around 19%, while Standard Bank had to lowest growth at 17.4%.

SA # # Bank Tier 1 Capital growth
6 579 Capitec 29.03%
2 173 FirstRand 22.12%
3 184 Absa 19.17%
4 217 Nedbank 19.06%
5 338 Investec 18.57%
1 145 Standard Bank 17.41%

Global banks

According to The Banker, Chinese banks continue to dominate on a global level, though European markets have started showing the recovery needed to lift their big banking groups.

Western Europe’s banks increased their share of global banking profits from 13% to 20% helped by strong performances in France, Germany and the UK and a turnaround in Italy.

Major banks such as Italy’s UniCredit, the UK’s Royal Bank of Scotland and Credit Suisse helped this recovery by moving back into the black after heavy losses. UniCredit climbed 21 places to 24th in the overall ranking with a 79% capital uplift.

Last year European banks held the top ten places in a table of largest losses but this year Indian banks hold six of the ten places. Chinese and Indian banks are a story of contrasting fortunes. For the first time, Chinese banks hold the top four places in the overall ranking based on Tier 1 capital with ICBC remaining top for the sixth year running.

Chinese banks account for four of the top five banks with the highest profits and together make nearly one third of global profits. ICBC grew its capital by $43 billion, alone, it said, while Chinese banks together increased their capital by $337 billion or 20%.

These are the 10 biggest banks in the world, according to The Banker:

# Bank Country Tier 1 Capital $m
1 ICBC China 324 000
2 China Construction Bank China 272 000
3 Bank of China China 224 000
4 Agricultural Bank of China China 218 000
5 JPMorgan Chase USA 209 000
6 Bank of America USA 191 000
7 Wells Fargo USA 178 000
8 Citigroup USA 165 000
9 Mitsubishi UFJ Japan 153 000
10 HSBC UK 151 000

Read: The best and worst banks in South Africa for digital experience

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