BEIJING, March 28 (UPI) -- China's Industrial and Commercial Bank of China reported earnings of $38.4 billion in 2012, making it the world's most profitable bank.
The bank on its website said the 2012 earnings were up 14.5 percent from $33.2 billion in 2011. Earnings per share for the year were $10.67, up from $9.40 in 2011.
The bank reported total assets of $2.78 trillion and outstanding loans of $2.37 trillion at the end of 2012.
ICBC President Yang Kaisheng, however, said Chinese lenders would face great challenges and tests on their asset quality this year due to moves by China's central bank to widen the range of interest rates last year, China Daily reported.
"We must be on high alert on the trend and prepare in advance," he told a news conference in Beijing.
Guo Tianyong, director of the Research Center of the Chinese Banking Industry at Central University of Finance and Economics, told China Daily he expects average profit growth this year among major banks to fall to about 10 percent.
"The economic growth still faces great uncertainties and we can't expect a strong recovery this year. In addition, the authorities are gearing up to strengthen interest rate liberalization, with some major breakthroughs in the pipeline, which will substantially narrow banks' interest margin," Guo said.