Awards for Excellence 2023: Best bank in China – China Merchants Bank
Chinese banks have not had an easy ride in recent years. Faltering economic growth, muted domestic demand, tight Covid restrictions and growing scrutiny from regulators have forced them to hunker down and work as best as they can.
No firm has been immune, including repeat winner of this award China Merchants Bank (CMB). CMB, along with two other financial institutions, was fined some Rmb34.2 million ($4.8 million) in early January for allegedly breaching consumer protection and anti-money laundering rules. Its former president was also charged by authorities for suspected corruption.
Yet, CMB – whose new president Wang Liang took charge in June 2022 – remains among the best performers in China, with growth and profitability surpassing that of others, despite the mounting challenges.
Last year the bank posted a 15% year-on-year rise in net profits to Rmb138 billion and a 4% jump in net operating income. Both return on average assets and return on average equity showed improvement, while total assets surpassed Rmb10 trillion for the first time.
This reflects CMB’s focus across all its business lines. It has grown its client base and income in retail banking, corporate banking and wealth management, while a continuing digital transformation has helped bolster efficiency.