Saudi lender tops list of MidEast’s banks

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Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank has been ranked as the Middle East’s top lender, according to an influential industry survey.

The Jeddah-based bank came out as number one in the region based on its $10.19bn of tier one capital, which is seen as a core indicator of a lender’s overall financial strength. The bank, which was the first to be setup in the Gulf kingdom when it was founded in 1953, came in at 115.

Click here to see the Middle East’s top 20 banks

Qatar National Bank was ranked second in terms of the region, with $8.85bn in tier one capital, while Dubai’s Emirate’s NBD was the highest ranking UAE bank, with $7.52bn.

The annual report into the world’s top 1,000 banks, by The Banker magazine, placed Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) in first place, following a 15 percent increase in tier one capital over the previous year $160.6bn. ICBC replaced Bank of America at the top of the pack in what was the first time a Chinese lender has led the rankings.

Brian Caplen, editor of The Banker, said: “For several years now European and American banks have been stagnant and shrinking while Chinese banks have been expanding in line with the growth in the Chinese economy. On most measures they now score as well or better than Western banks but their big test will be how they cope as China’s growth slows over the next few years.”

The study found that there had been an overall increase of 13.4 percent in tier one capital across the entire top 1,000 compared to the prior year. Overall, pre-tax profits across the group rose 6.7 percent, compared with a 1.0 percent decline the year before.

Banks hit hardest in the list included those in the euro zone, with the ongoing effects of the bloc’s sovereign debt crisis causing a loss of $49bn, in contrast to a profit of $2.1bn 12 months earlier.

Click here to see the world’s top 20 banks

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