However, the combined tier one capital of the nine banks is this time around slightly above the $9.842 billion of Standard Group of South Africa, the biggest bank in Africa and the 112th in the world. Standard Group's tier one capital dropped from last year's figure of $12.6 billion to this year's $9.8 billion. This fact is contained in the 2012 edition of The Banker magazine top 1000 global banks, a publication of Financial Times of London.
Bank of America which occupies the first position in the global ranking has a capital base of $163.626 billion. It is followed closely by JPMorgan Chase with a capital of $142.450 billion. The third position is occupied by HSBC, a British bank with a capital base of $133.179 billion. China has three banks in the top ten positions while Japan has just one.
The Banker magazine's endorsement has become an instrument that central banks and bankers seek after as a marketing tool. The low level of capitalization of Nigerian banks when compared to international standard is a challenge to regulators who are at the moment busy fragmenting the industry.
The Banker in its benchmarking of the top 1000 global bank said that Zenith Bank PLC had, as at 2011 financial year, a total tier one capital of $2.398 billion as against the $2.405 billion of last year. This makes Zenith Bank the biggest bank in Nigeria, the 7th in Africa and the 322nd in the world. It is followed by the first generation bank, First Bank, with a total of $2.262 billion in 2011 as against its last year's figure of $2.221 billion shareholders' stake in the bank known as tier one capital. First Bank occupies the 2nd position in the Nigerian banking sector, 8th in Africa and 338th in the globe.
The third highly capitalised bank in Nigeria by the standard of Bank of International Settlement (BIS) is GTBank with a tier one capital of $1.478 billion as against the $1.362 billion of 2010 financial year. By tier one capital ranking, it is Nigeria's 3rd biggest, 11th in Africa and 455th in the world. Access Bank followed closely with a capital of $1.054 billion as against the $1.149 billion it had last year making it the 4th largest bank in Nigeria, 15th in Africa and 541st universally.
United Bank for Africa (UBA), one of the oldest banks in the country, as at the 2011 financial year end had $1.003 billion compared to the $1.037 billion capital in 2010 making it one of the internationally recognised strong banks in the country. It is by this classification, the 5th largest bank in Nigeria, 16th in Africa and 563rd in the world. Fidelity is next with $867 million as against the $904 million tier one capital the previous year, making it the 6th biggest bank in Nigeria, 17th in Africa and 618th in the world. First City Monument Bank followed closely with $683 million compared to the $854 million capital base it had a year before. It thus becomes the 7th largest bank, 22nd in Africa and 710th in the world. Skye Bank has $665 million compared to $695 million it had previously to feature as the 721st top banks in the world, 24th in Africa and 8th in Nigeria.
However, the Nigerian banks did not rank among the top five in Africa. Zenith which is the most capitalised bank in the country ranks 7th as against its last year's 6th position in the continent. The top three banks in Africa are all from South Africa. Standard Bank Group topped the Africa chart with a capital base of $9.842 billion and is in the 112th position globally. The second is the FirstRand Bank Holdings, South Africa with a capital base of $8.471 billion. The Needbank Group Limited, also of South Africa, came third in the top 25 banks in Africa with a capital of $5.123 billion.
Attjariwafabank of Morocco, an Islamic Bank, is fourth with a capital base of $2.786 billion. Investec of South Africa came 5th in The Banker ranking of the top 25 banks in Africa with a capital base of $2.519 billion. According to The Banker, two Nigerian banks featured in the capital adequacy ratio measurement. Fidelity Bank, The Banker said, has a capital to asset ratio of 28.8 per cent, making it the soundest bank in the country. The report also said that First City Monument Bank with capital to asset ratio of 23.89 made it to the 1000 soundest capital to asset ratio banks in the world.
According to The Banker, going by the Bank of International Settlement measure, Zenith was the only Nigerian bank that attained the 1000 soundest BIS ratio of 36.
The Banker in the 2012 review of Africa Banking landscape said: "African banks suffered in this year's Top 1000 ranking from the weakness of their currencies, many of which fell sharply against the US dollar in the second half of 2011. South African banks were among the hardest hit, with the rand sliding almost 19 per cent versus the US currency last year, though Standard Bank retained its position as the largest bank on the continent by tier one capital and assets.
"Yet, while the latter rose 12 per cent in local currency during 2011, assets fell from $201billion to $183 billion in dollar terms. This was also largely the reason why Standard Bank's tier one capital decreased from $12billion to $9.8 billion in 2011, causing it to drop from 94th to 112th in the ranking - leaving Africa without any bank in the Top 100.
"In last year's Top 1000, Standard Bank had doubled the tier one capital of its nearest rival, FirstRand, which had $6 billion. FirstRand has closed the gap substantially and has $8.4 billion of such capital in this year's ranking. It was helped, however, by its financial year ending on June 30, 2011. In the 12 months prior to that date, the rand actually strengthened against the dollar, Standard Bank's year ended on December 31.
"Last year, 30 African banks made it to the Top 1000, whereas this time, 31 did. The continent's banks still account for a small proportion of global tier one capital, collectively making up 0.98 per cent of the total in the Top 1000, down slightly from last year. Mauritian banks, assisted by the rupee being one of the few African currencies to hold its own against the dollar in 2011, were some of the fastest risers in this year's ranking. Two of them, Mauritius Commercial Bank and State Bank of Mauritius, were among the four African banks that increased their tier one capital the most.
"Angola's banks also had a good year. Banco de Poupança e Crédito is a new entrant to the Top 1000, after its tier one capital rose 31 per cent to $705m. Banco Angolano de Investimentos, Angola's biggest lender, saw its tier one capital increase by 11 per cent to $708m and assets expanded by a hefty 42 per cent to $12billion. This caused it to climb the global assets ranking from 674th to 596th.
"While Nigerian lenders did not move up the tier one ranking significantly, Access Bank's assets increased 93 per cent to $10.3 billion, thanks to its takeover of local rival, Intercontinental Bank. This led it to move from 805th to 635th in the assets ranking. Togo-based Ecobank moved from 609th to 498th in terms of assets, thanks mainly to its acquisition of Nigeria's Oceanic Bank.
While European banks count the cost of the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis, China is leading the emerging markets into a new era of banking dominance. But the established markets of the US and Japan should not be forgotten.
It will come as no surprise that 2011 was the year when the Eurozone crisis dragged the global banking sector backwards. Assets and tier one capital in The Banker's Top 1000 World Banks ranking continue to grow, although at a much reduced rate to last year's ranking. But aggregate profits, which had staged two years of recovery since the financial crisis, reversed by one per cent, to stay only just above the $700 billion mark.