China’s (and the world) leading bank authorized to operate in Brazil
One of the world’s leading banks, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has been authorised to operate in Brazil, indicates a Brazilian government decision published on Thursday in the official gazette.
“Foreign participation of up to 100 percent in the multiple bank share capital to be constituted by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited is in the Brazilian government’s interest,” the document states.
The necessary Brazilian government authorisation is set out in a decree signed by President Dilma Rousseff, required under Brazilian law because the capital of ICBC’s subsidiary in Brazil is totally foreign. Finance Minister Guido Mantega and central bank head Alexandre Tombini must also stamp their signatures.
The ICBC, which also aims to operate in Peru, announced last week that as part of an overall expansion strategy it would buy stakes in the Standard Bank Group’s subsidiary in Argentina and in two other branches of that company there.
At end 2010 ICBC counted a portfolio of 259 million private customers and 4.12 million business customers, with 16,000 branches as well as 203 subsidiaries abroad in 28 countries.
IBCB is the largest bank in the world by profit and market capitalization and is one of China’s Big Four state-owned commercial banks (the other three being the Bank of China, Agricultural bank of China and China Construction Bank.
According to the Boston Consulting Group, China's big four banks all made it to the list of the world's top banks, with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China maintaining the top spot, while China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China and Bank of China took the third, sixth, seventh positions.
Driven by rapid growth in credit spreads China's banks are among the most profitable, with an average of 22% after-tax return on equity (ROE), second only to that in Indonesia, where ROE was 26%.