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How Big Are Malaysian Banks Compared To Banks In The World?

Do we have the richest banks?


Whenever we take a drive through downtown KL, we will inevitably come across major landmarks in our city such as Menara Maybank (which was once our tallest building) or Menara Public Bank which sits right across the Petronas Twin Towers.

Anyone who sets their eyes on these beautiful structures for the first time, especially given how beautifully lit and grandiose Menara Public Bank looks at night, would surely get the impression that our banks must be rich and well-capitalised corporations to be able to afford such remarkable landmarks.

However, have you ever wondered how big they really are and how much they are worth?


The following is a list of the top 5 banks in Southeast Asia by assets and market capitalisation according to Forbes as of May 2016.

By Assets

  1. DBS Bank (Singapore), 322.8 Billion USD
  2. OCBC Bank (Singapore), 275.1 Billion USD
  3. United Overseas Bank (Singapore), 222.8 Billion USD
  4. Maybank (Malaysia), 165.0 Billion USD
  5. CIMB (Malaysia), 107.7 Billion USD

In addition to that, Public Bank Berhad comes in at 6th place with an asset size of 95.4 Billion USD while RHB Bank and AmBank are placed 13th and 20th respectively with an asset size of 53.7 Billion USD and 31.6 Billion USD.

By Market Capitalisation

  1. DBS Bank (Singapore), 29.3 Billion USD
  2. OCBC Bank (Singapore), 28.6 Billion USD
  3. Bank Central Asia (Indonesia), 24.5 Billion USD
  4. United Overseas Bank (Singapore), 23.4 Billion USD
  5. Maybank (Malaysia), 22.7 Billion USD

Just off the top 5, Public Bank Berhad comes in at 7th place with a market capitalisation of 19.0 Billion USD, CIMB at 11th place with 10.7 Billion USD, RHB Bank at 17th place with 4.9 Billion USD and AmBank at 18th place with 3.6 Billion USD.

Largest Banks In The WORLD

By Assets

  1. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (China), 3,616.39 Billion USD
  2. China Construction Bank Corporation (China), 2,939.15 Billion USD
  3. Agricultural Bank of China (China), 2,816.60 Billion USD
  4. HSBC Holdings (UK), 2,670 Billion USD
  5. Bank of China (China), 2,629.31 Billion USD

By Market Capitalisation

  1. Wells Fargo & Co (United States), 254.19 Billion USD
  2. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) (China), 226.55 Billion USD
  3. JP Morgan Chase & Co (United States), 217.79 Billion USD
  4. China Construction Bank Corporation (China), 155.97 Billion USD
  5. Agricultural Bank of China (China), 155.04 Billion USD

Where We Stand In Southeast Asia?

As you can see from the rankings above, our Malaysian banks are no match for our Singaporean counterparts. Only Maybank made it into both the top 5 Southeast Asian banks by asset size and market capitalisation. Even so, Maybank was only 4th and 5th position respectively.

CIMB, on the other hand, only made it into the top 5 Southeast Asian banks by asset size at 5th place.

However, that result is understandable because Singapore, being the financial centre of Southeast Asia, should understandably have the largest banks in the region.

With our Malaysian banks trailing just behind the Singaporean banks, with Public Bank trailing closely behind Maybank and CIMB, it would be safe to say that the size of our Malaysian banks are only second to those from Singapore, with the exception of Bank Central Asia from Indonesia which ranks 3rd in Southeast Asia by market capitalisation.

Despite not being the biggest in the region, they still rank in quite a respectable position.

Where We Stand Globally

However, when it comes to the global arena, none of our Malaysian banks, or any Southeast Asian banks for that matter, stand a chance against the global juggernauts from China, UK and the United States.

Their total asset sizes are in the trillions while ours are only in the low hundreds of billions.

Besides that, their market capitalisations are in the hundreds of billions while ours are only in the 20 Billion range.

So, Where Do Our Banks Stand?

While our Malaysian banks hold quite a respectable position in Southeast Asian; we still have a long way to go to catch up with the heavyweights of the world.

We can only hope that a truly global bank like HSBC or Standard Chartered will emerge from Malaysia one day. But for now, we are not doing too bad either.

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DollarsandSense is a website that aims to help people make better financial decisions, one interesting bite-sized article at a time. Like us on Facebook to stay in touch with our latest article. 


DollarsAndSense Malaysia is a website that aims to help people make better financial decisions, one interesting, bite-sized article at a time. Like us on Facebook to stay in touch with our latest articles.