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By Paul Wallace | Published: 30 June, 2014

As was the case in 2013 Top 1000 World Banks ranking, when it comes to returns on assets, African banks are the stellar performers.

Emerging market banks performed strongly in this year’s Top 1000 when it came to returns on assets (ROAs). Africa was among the regions with the strongest results. It was the only one to have at least five banks with ROAs of more than 5%.

For the second year running, Kenya’s Equity Bank, the country’s largest bank by customer numbers, made the highest ROA on the continent. This year, it generated one of 6.84%. Its local rival, Kenya Commercial Bank, achieved an ROA of 5.14%, making it Africa’s third most profitable lender by this measure.

Other regions whose banks made stellar returns were the Middle East and central and eastern Europe (CEE). In the former region, two Iranian banks – Bank Pasargad and Karafarin Bank – made the top five. In CEE, the best performer was Russian credit card specialist Tinkoff Credit Systems, which generated a hefty ROA of 7.81%.

Japan’s banks still have some of the lowest profitability ratios in the world. Only two of its lenders, North Pacific Bank and Suruga Bank, achieved ROAs of more than 1%. No Chinese banks generated an ROA of more than 3%, reflecting the fact that while their absolute profits are the highest in the world, their profitability ratios are not.
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