The Class of ’99: Where Are They Now?

Here’s a blast from the past: from 1999, a list of the 50 largest banks in the world by market capitalisation.

It’s almost time for the ten-year reunion for these banks – and wow, things have changed in the intervening ten years. Some banks have lost weight (some are unhealthily skinny), some have packed it on a bit but are still looking healthy; there’s been a few marriages (and some menages a trois), a shotgun wedding or two, and a few confirmed bachelors.

And there are a few banks that… well… won’t be able to make it to the reunion. A moment’s silence, please.

I dug up some 2008 market cap figures for the banks on the list, so we can see how everyone’s done in the intervening nine years. (The figures are from November 21st, before last week’s stupendous rally, so things may be marginally different now; all figures are in USD for ease of comparison. I’ve accounted for the mergers among the top 50 banks on the list, but can’t find old market cap data for a few biggies – UFJ, Intesa and Mitsui, among others.)

And if I’ve made any screwups, missed any mergers, or if you can add any other information to the yearbook, shoot me an email. Or just read on, if you want to find out how much these banks have made – or not – in the last nine years.

The marrieds

Firstly, congratulations to the newest happy couple, PNC and National City, just married in October. Is the honeymoon over yet?

1999 total market cap: $39.4bn; 2008 market cap $18.4bn. Most of that is NatCity’s doing.

There’s a few other happy couples out there – Bank of New York and Mellon; BNP and Paribas, US Bancorp and Firstar (and their rambunctious toddler Piper Jaffray – are you sure you didn’t mean to call him “Jeffrey”?); Intesa and Sanpaolo-Imi; Unicredito and HypoVereinsBank; and Sumitomo and Mitsui.

BNY Mellon – 1999 total market cap: $45.7bn; 2008 market cap $29.6bn

BNP Paribas – 1999 total market cap: $37.8bn; 2008 market cap $41.4bn

Intesa Sanpaolo – argh, I don’t have the figures for Intesa…

Unicredito – 1999 total market cap: $47.7bn; 2008 market cap $24.7bn

Sumitomo Mitsui – missing data again, I don’t have the 1999 market cap for the Mitsui side

There’s some less happy couples as well. Dresdner and Allianz are going through a divorce right now, but keep your chin up, you two.

I don’t have the 2008 sale price on hand, but Dresdner’s market cap in 1999 was $19.9bn

And RBS and Natwest, and Halifax and Bank of Scotland. Lovely banks all of them, they’re just going through a bit of a rough patch at the moment. We had to stage an intervention to get them into rehab, but the doctors say they’re doing really well and they’ll be out in a few years.

RBS – 1999 total market cap: $56.4bn; 2008 market cap $11.7bn

HBOS – 1999 total market cap: $47.5bn; 2008 market cap $5.9bn

The singles

After ten years of consolidation, there aren’t many single banks left on the list. Maybe we need to throw a B&S ball to pair them all up. Let’s run through the list quickly, from shortest to tallest:

Standard Chartered

1999 market cap: $17.1bn; 2008 market cap: $16.1bn

KBC

1999 market cap: $18.6bn; 2008 market cap: $8.1bn

Fifth Third

1999 market cap: $18.9bn; 2008 market cap: $4.3bn (bad case of anorexia there)

SocGen

1999 market cap: $20.4bn; 2008 market cap: $20.1bn

SunTrust

1999 market cap: $21.5bn; 2008 market cap: $7.9bn

NAB

1999 market cap: $24.5bn; 2008 market cap: $21.8bn (to be fair, NAB was hanging around with a bad crowd back in ’03)

BBVA

1999 market cap: $31.2bn; 2008 market cap: $33.9bn

Deutsche Bank

1999 market cap: $34.4bn; 2008 market cap: $13.0bn

Barclays

1999 market cap: $46.3bn; 2008 market cap: $16.6bn

Credit Suisse

1999 market cap: $49.3bn; 2008 market cap: $23.2bn

Three-ways

The Japanese banks have joined up into a few happy pairings: IBJ, Fuji Bank and Dai-ichi Kangyo merged to form Mizuho; and Sanwa, UFJ and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi are now MUFG.

Mizuho – 1999 total market cap: $63.8bn; 2008 market cap $26.6bn

MUFG – missing the figures for UFJ in 1999, but total market cap today is a respectable $56.4bn

Splitsville



Unfortunately, ABN Amro can’t make it tonight – after the world’s biggest banking takeover, back in the heady days of 2007, the venerable Dutch bank has been split between Santander (which has just had to raise capital), RBS (now part of the public sector!), and Fortis (which has had its slice of ABN summarily taken back by the Dutch government).

And American Express sold its banking business to Standard Chartered last year, so they weren’t invited tonight.

The big guns

Now, the big guns. The banks everyone wanted to hang around with back in the schoolyard. How have they done…?

Citi. Oh dear. The first step is admitting that you have a problem – but there’s still eleven steps to go.

1999 total market cap: $152.5bn; 2008 market cap $20.5bn

Bank of America (plus MBNA, plus Fleet Financial… and now plus Merrill Lynch as well).

1999 total market cap: $162.6bn; 2008 market cap $57.5bn – not including Merrills

Lloyds TSB. Back in 1999, Lloyds was the third biggest bank in the world. Now it’s… well… now, it’s not. Dear oh dear Lloyds, what have you done to yourself…?

1999 total market cap: $75.7bn; 2008 market cap $11.2bn

Wells Fargo, the shotgun husband to Wachovia’s knocked-up bride (plus the First Union marriage from way back when).

1999 total market cap: $135.7bn; 2008 market cap $82.5bn

Good ol’ JP Morgan Chase (formerly JP Morgan, formerly Chase Manhattan, formerly Bank One).

1999 total market cap: $161.6bn; 2008 market cap $84.8bn

UBS. Whoops.

1999 total market cap: $66.5bn; 2008 market cap $27.3bn

And finally, Smug Bank – sorry, I mean HSBC. Voted Most Likely to Succeed back in 1999, and look at ’em now.

1999 total market cap: $62.0bn; 2008 market cap $113.1bn

Sum total

So in the nine years since this list was compiled, the fifty banks on the list have lost somewhere around… ooh… carry the two… about US$715 billion of value.

Ouch.

Well, chin up everyone; stay healthy, and we’ll see you back here in five years’ time. We’ll all be back, right? Right?

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