International Press Release: World’s top banks weather pandemic storm 28 June 2021: The world’s largest banks have withstood the pressures from the Covid-19 pandemic, adding 12.7% to their collective Tier 1 capital to reach the highest ever level of $9.9 trillion, according to The Banker’s latest ranking of the Top 1000 World Banks. In addition, total assets increased by 16.0%, to $148.6 trillion, while the deposit base expanded by 17.1%, to $93.9 trillion.
Compared to the global financial crisis in 2007-09 there is more resilience in the banking sector. Overall, the Top 1000 World Banks increased the allowance for loan losses (or the reserve to cover bad debts) by 25.8%, to $1.7 trillion, which is a bigger increase than the aggregate loan book, which grew by 11.4%. However, as many jurisdictions have extended their Covid-19 support packages into 2021, the true impact of the pandemic has not hit the banks’ loan books yet.
Despite challenging economic conditions, banks have been able to generate pre-tax profits (see table: Top 10 Countries’ profit change). However, most countries recorded a reduction in pre-tax profits, with just 16 countries increasing aggregate profits. While the Top 1000’s combined profits dropped by 19.2% year-on-year, it is not as catastrophic when compared to the fallout from the financial crisis, when profits plummeted 85.3% in 2009.
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