July 1, 2013 / 12:34 PM / in 6 years

China's ICBC tops global bank rankings for first time

A man cycles a bike carrying his daughter past a branch of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC) in Beijing, June 26, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee

LONDON (Reuters) - Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC)(601398.SS) has leapfrogged a pair of U.S. banks to top a global ranking of banks with the most capital, highlighting the growing size and importance of Chinese lenders.

ICBC topped The Banker magazine’s annual list of the top 1,000 banks for the first time, relegating Bank of America (BAC.N) to third from first, while JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N) remained second. ICBC was third last year.

The rankings are based on Tier 1 capital as a measure of a bank’s ability to lend on a large scale and endure shocks. ICBC has for some time ranked as the top bank by market value.

Britain’s HSBC (HSBA.L), which gains much of its earnings from Asia, was fourth in The Banker’s list, with China Construction Bank (CCB)(601939.SS) ranked fifth.

China had four banks in the top 10 and 96 in the Top 1,000. Its top four lenders - ICBC, CCB, Bank of China (601988.SS) and Agricultural Bank of China (601288.SS) - filled the top positions for profit in 2012. ICBC’s $49 billion (32 billion pounds) profit put it top of the profit table for a third successive year.

Total profit for the biggest 1,000 banks is now back close to levels achieved before the 2007/09 financial crisis, but the regional share has shifted significantly, The Banker said.

In 2006 European banks accounted for 46 percent of global profits and 58 percent of assets, but last year that had dropped to less than 2 percent of profits and 43 percent of assets.

Asia’s banks have lifted their share of profits to 56 percent from 19 percent in the same time and increased their share of assets to 35 percent from 22 percent.

Spain’s Bankia (BKIA.MC) posted the biggest loss last year at $33 billion, with six of the 10 biggest losses coming from Spain, the magazine estimated.

Reporting by Steve Slater; Editing by David Goodman

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