* Balance of power shifting in global syndicated loan market* Japanese, US banks gain as bookrunner rankings reshuffle* Deleveraging European banks fallBy Tessa WalshLONDON, Jan 12 Japanese and U.S. banks are powering ahead in global lending at the expense of European banks, which are scrambling to conserve capital by lending less and selling assets to meet regulatory requirements in mid 2012. Despite the escalating sovereign debt crisis, global syndicated loan volume was surprisingly strong in 2011, increasing 43 percent to $3.75 trillion from $2.632 trillion in 2010, according to Thomson Reuters LPC data. Changes in the global loan bookrunner table, which shows deal leadership, point to significant changes in the balance of power in the loan market which could become even more pronounced in 2012. European banks are on a fast-track deleveraging drive to raise 114.7 billion euros ($145.51 billion) of extra capital by mid 2012 to comply with the European Banking Authority's recommendations.. In a rising market, all banks in the top 20 global bookrunner table increased the volume of loans that they led, but some increases were bigger than others which led to a reshuffle in the rankings. Easy access to dollar funding conferred a competitive advantage in 2011. Japanese banks made the biggest gains, US banks maintained their top position and European banks battling high funding costs and a dollar squeeze slumped.
Japanese banks made the biggest gains in the volume of loans that they led, followed by US lenders. The world's top four bookrunners of loans were all US banks. JP Morgan moved up one place to head the table, leading $387 billion of loans - 72 percent more than 2010, followed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and Wells Fargo. Japan's megabanks, seeking growth outside their stagnant domestic market, made average gains of 200 percent and Mizuho Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group joined Mitsubishi UFJ in the top ten. Japanese banks are sensing opportunity and are building up assets with a focus on Asia and the Americas as well as boosting relationships with European blue-chip companies. Mizuho Financial Group broke into the top five, climbing six places with a 232 percent increase to lead $148 billion of deals, followed by Mitsubishi UFJ in sixth place, which led $134 billion, up 140 percent on 2010.
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group also made strong gains, climbing seven places to ninth with a 229 percent increase to lead $100 billion of loans. EUROPEAN WOES All of the European banks in the top 20 global bookrunner tables lost ground with the exception of HSBC. Only three European banks - BNP Paribas, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland - made the top ten.
BNP was the highest placed European bank at seventh, leading $130 billion of deals - 62 percent more than 2010. Barclays led deals totalling $121 billion in eighth place while Royal Bank of Scotland led $99 billion of deals in tenth place. RBS announced plans on Thursday to cut the balance sheet of its former global banking and markets business by 120 billion pounds to 300 billion in the next three years. Its plan equates to shedding 75 billion pounds in risk-weighted assets. Deutsche Bank showed the biggest decline of any European bank, dropping five places to 11th place, bookrunning $88 billion of loans. Credit Suisse, Credit Agricole CIB and Societe Generale also fell to 13, 14 and 17 respectively. BNP Paribas was the first bank to put a size on its deleveraging when it announced a plan to sell 70 billion euros of assets including loans in mid September 2011 to help ease fears about leverage and funding after US money market lending fell. Societe Generale also stepped up asset sales of billions of euros of corporate loans and aircraft, shipping and real-estate loans - a process that the bank said was ongoing in early December. Swathes of banks followed with lending restrictions and further asset sales. Credit Agricole CIB and Banco Santander also put loan portfolios up for sale before the end of the year. Commerzbank announced that it would stop making loans that did not help the German or Polish economies in November and UniCredit announced that it would sell or run off 48 billion euros of risk-weighted assets.