RETAIL BANKING | Staff Reporter, China

Chinese banks grab a third of global banking profits in 2011

Europe’s punishing financial turmoil has been good for China’s Big Four banks.

Chinese lenders took almost a third of global bank profit in 2011, up from 4% in 2007, as they took market share given up by struggling European banks, according to The Banker magazine's annual rankings.

Three Chinese banks are among the most profitable: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China; China Construction Bank and Bank of China. These three banks belong to China’s “Big Four,” all of which are state-owned.

ICBC posted pretax earnings of US$43.2 billion and was the world’s most profitable bank for the second straight year. It was followed by China Construction Bank, which had a US$34.8 billion profit, and Bank of China with earnings of US$26.8 billion.

All these Chinese lenders were in the magazine’s Top 1,000 list that uses Tier 1 capital as a measure of a bank's ability to lend on a large scale and endure shocks.

ICBC ranked third on this list; CCB was sixth, Bank of China ninth and Agricultural Bank of China, another Big Four bank, tenth.

Bank of America topped the magazine's Top 1,000 list for the second year. JPMorgan was second.

Chinese banks accounted for 29.3% of global profits last year.

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