Screenshot of Home Page of ICBC

Often customers find themselves looking around for a bank of their own. A bank where they feel secure and happy. Also, one that will allow them to perform their daily transactions as effortlessly and smoothly as possible. Furthermore, they want good service and low fees. Naturally, the first thing customers do is have a look at who has been around the longest. Surely this should be a good indication of whether they’re with the right institution, shouldn’t it? Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) proves that this is not always true. Even a bank found in the mid 80’s can thrive among the best of them. In fact, as at November 2016, ICBC has the largest asset holding in the world. That is quite an accomplishment, but how does the bank fare across all spheres?

Discover how this bank compares to another Asian great.

History of ICBC

Screenshot of the History of ICBC

In 1984, the bank first opened its doors as a local state-run bank. Furthermore, it managed to build up a substantial client base during this time, as it serviced a large part of Beijing. Also, this continuous build-up of the client base ensured that the bank formed a solid foundation. With more and more branches dotting the Chinese landscape, it was only natural that the bank would test the waters abroad.

In 1999, this goal came to fruition as the bank opened its first global branch in Luxembourg. This was a memorable moment for the bank, which also happened to be the base of European operations. After the establishment of this branch, more branches across Europe followed.

Modern Banking

Back home, the bank managed to secure the requirements for stock exchange listings, as it converted to a joint-stock limited company. Furthermore, in 2006, the bank was successfully listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited. A steady rate of growth and careful business dealings allowed the bank to capture many customers and good investments.

By 2011, the bank was listed on some of the major banking and business lists across the world. The bank also secured a solid reputation and the awards and prizes soon followed. This did not stop the bank and instead managed to spur the bank on to reach higher goals. “Best Emerging Markets Bank” and the top spot on the Top 1000 World Banks list by The Banker were some of the awards waiting in the wings for ICBC throughout 2015 and 2016.

In closing, not only does the bank fare well in the international rankings, it also performs well with healthy growth and profit levels.

Access to ICBC Bank

Online Banking

Screenshot of Internet Bank Logins ICBC

The bank offers state of the art features on their internet banking. furthermore, there are other digital channels as well, which reduces the need to go into a branch for servicing. Customers still need to go to the bank to open their accounts, however.

a bank that pushes beyond the boundaries of online banking, is Ally Bank. Another that strives to create a cashless society, is National Australia Bank.


Screenshot of Locations for ICBC

The bank boasts close to 17,000 physical outlets, which is quite substantial for a bank. Furthermore, the bank has operations across the world. There are also a few key locations where the bank is not operational, for instance, Africa.

These are some of the countries or cities where ICBC has global representation:

  • Abu Dhabi, Hanoi, Almaty, Malaysia, Phnom Penh, Tokyo, and Yangon
  • Busan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Dubai, Karachi, Seoul, and Vientiane
  • Doha, Macau, Thailand, Mumbai, Singapore, and Kuwait
  • Amsterdam, Moscow, Luxembourg, and Poland
  • Brussels, London, Milan, and Spain
  • Frankfurt, Turkey, and Paris
North America
  • Canada, New Tork, and Mexico
South America
  • Argentina, Peru, and Brazil
  • Sydney and New Zealand

ICBC Personal Banking Product Offerings

Screenshot of Personal Banking Home Page ICBC

Deposit Accounts

Current Deposit

This is a suitable account for those who wish to have immediate access to their funds, but also earn interest on positive balances. Furthermore, the account requires a very small opening deposit. Also, the account can be set up with an automatic fee payment service on their other accounts.

  • Customers will have access to the account via card, internet, mobile banking.
  • Also, interest is payable every three months.
  • Finally, customers need to go to the branch to have the account opened.
Lump Fixed Deposit

This allows customers to set some funds aside for a set period of time. Furthermore, there are options where they can totally or partially withdraw the capital and interest. Also, customers who take out these accounts often benefit from higher interest rates.

  • Customers benefit from the automatic reinvestment option when the investment reaches the end of the term.
  • Furthermore, these funds are ideal as security for a loan.
  • Finally, the account can be opened with a small opening deposit.
All-in-One Current Account

This is the ideal account for those who require more from their everyday accounts. Apart from offering great transaction benefits, it also happens to be the ideal account for multiple currencies.

  • Customers have access to their accounts at any banking outlet inside the city where the account was opened.
  • Furthermore, the account allows convenient fee payments.
  • Also, telephone and internet banking can be activated for this account.
All-in-One Fixed Account

This is a fixed savings account for those who do not require access to their funds in the near future. Furthermore, there are various terms to choose from when opening the account. Also, customers can check their balances via internet and telephone banking, as well as self-service terminals.

RMB Installment Fixed Deposit

This is an account that provides a fixed investment solution where the interest compounds. This provides a good maturity value for the client instead of paying the interest out at intervals.

  • Customers are able to access their funds ahead of maturity in the event of an emergency.
  • The investment allows clients to re-deposit their funds according to the initial terms of the investment.
  • Furthermore, the funds can be used to pledge loans.
RMB Annuity Savings Deposit

Customers who wish to deposit their funds for a set term will benefit from this type of account. Furthermore, customers have the option of depositing the funds for one, three, or five years respectively. Also, the account requires a minimum opening deposit.

RMB Renewal and Interest Payment Deposit

This type of investment allows customers to set a term for their investment of their choice. Furthermore, the investment allows the interest disbursements to take place at different intervals, according to the customer’s needs. Also, the account requires a minimum opening deposit. Finally, the investments are for one, three, or five years.

RMB Time-Demand Deposit

This is the ideal account for those who are new to savings or merely wish to renew their savings discipline. Furthermore, this type of investment won’t cause a cashflow risk in the household, as customers have access to the funds at any time. Also, this investment can be used as security for loans.

RMB Education Deposit

Customers who wish to save up for education-related expenses will find this account to be the ideal savings vehicle. Customers are able to make their deposits at varied times. Furthermore, this account provides favorable interest rates. Also, customers are restricted to a maximum amount. Finally, the deposit terms are one, three, and six years respectively.

Fixed Current Link

Customers who have few transactions and tend to accumulate surplus funds which don’t earn any interest can convert these funds to savings. This account also automatically takes idle funds and places them in an interest bearing account. Furthermore, customers still have access to these funds. Finally, an automatic set-off occurs in the event where customers overspend to ensure the account is always funded.

Personal Call Deposit

Customers are not required to set a term of the deposit in this account. They are, however, required to set a term for the withdrawal. The customers decide the term they wish to give as a notice period, allowing them that extra bit of freedom. Furthermore, these accounts require a minimum opening balance of a certain amount. Finally, customers decide upfront between a one-day or seven-day notice period.

Petty Account Cancellation

With this facility, customers grant the bank permission to close unused small or petty accounts and transfer the funds to their main accounts. This provides a more streamlined approach to their banking. Furthermore, customers will not have to go to their branch to close the account.

Personal Finance

We recently did a full review on this range.

Investments and Planning

Screenshot of Some Products and Service Provided in Personal Banking ICBC

Read the full review on this product.

Cross-Border Financial Services

This provides customers with a variety of services they may need when they go overseas. These include:

  • ICBC Currency Exchange
  • Account Opening Service
  • Personal Credibility Letter
  • Personal Loan for Overseas Study
  • Visa Application Service
  • Also, Personal Foreign Exchange and
  • Overseas Financial Service

Other Services

ICBC has many other services to ensure that customers have a pleasant banking experience. Some of these services include:

  • Convenient bank – Remittance Express, Auto-Transfer, Serf-Service Bill Payment, Bank-Hospital Service, Tuition Payment, Consigned Payment Transfer, Safety Box, Spend on Card, Personal Settlement Account, and Personal Joint Account.
  • Personal E-Banking – Internet, Telephone, Mobile, and ATM banking.
  • ICBC Salary Manager – Payroll Agency and Service System.
  • Also, VIP Services and
  • Personal Consolidated Bonus Point Service

ICBC Corporate Banking Product Offerings

Screenshot of Corporate Banking Home Page ICBC

Corporate Deposit

Current Deposit

For those who require some flexibility with their transactions, this is the account for it. Furthermore, customers are able to deposit and withdraw as needed. There is also no specific deposit term, and there are a few different accounts in this category:

  • Basic Deposit Account
  • General Deposit Account
  • Temporary Deposit Account and
  • Special Deposit Account
Time Deposit

Those who wish to put their funds away for some time will find this account to meet their needs. Furthermore, customers agree to the terms and the interest rate prior to the deposit. Also, the full capital balance and interest should be withdrawn by the agreed due date. Finally, advance withdrawals are possible as long as the terms are met.

Foreign Exchange Deposit

This account provides companies with the means to set up their foreign exchange transactions. Furthermore, it follows the strict guidelines of the foreign exchange rulings to ensure that customers remain compliant. Also, there are two different types of foreign exchange deposit services:

  • Small sum foreign exchange account and
  • Large sum foreign exchange account
Corporate Agreement Deposit

This is an agreement between the customer and the bank which determines the basic terms of the settlement account. Furthermore, the rate of savings is discussed upfront.

Structured Deposits

Customers who sign up for this product do so with the knowledge that there is some risk to the deposit. Furthermore, this is an investment opportunity for those who wish to capitalize on interest rates, exchange rates, stock prices, commodities, and more. There are also different currencies of principal.

Corporate Call Deposit

This is a type of call deposit which allows the customers to choose the term of the notice period. Furthermore, this is not the term of the deposit.

Bill Business

This provides businesses with various transaction tools where imports and exports are concerned.

  • Commercial Draft Discounting (through Agent)
  • Commercial Draft Discounting
  • Discounting of Bank Acceptance Bill (Partial Recourse)
  • Commercial Draft Discounting (Redemption)
  • Commercial Draft Discounting by Interest Agreed
  • Bill Re-Discounting
  • Bill Agency Services
  • Also, Electric Commercial Draft Discounting and
  • Electric Commercial Draft Rediscounting

Settlement Service

Settlement services are crucial to those who require clearing services. Some of the services and products offered in this category include:

  • Corporate Settlement Account
  • Domestic Settlement
  • Agency Services
  • Cash Management
  • Global Cash Management
  • Cross-Border RMB Settlement
  • Accolades
  • Cash Management Card
  • Also, Account Manager and
  • Internet Banking for Cash Management

Corporate e-Banking

Deutsche Bank offers a business range and a full review is available here.

This service allows corporates to continue with their daily banking without setting a foot inside the bank. These services include Bank-Enterprise Interlink, Corporate Internet Banking, and also Corporate Telephone Banking.

Loan Financing

Working Capital Loan Service

This service is vital for those who require working capital to take the business to the next level. There are a few different options, as the needs of the various businesses vary. Furthermore, these loans are specific to certain circumstances. Loan types include:

  • Legal Person Account Overdraft
  • Standby Loans
  • Transition Loans
  • Operating Capital Loans
  • Also, Turnaround Limited Loans and
  • Temporary Loans
Project Loan

This loan is suitable for those who have a specific project in mind. Furthermore, the loan provides businesses with the necessary funds to finance new properties, extensions or renovations to an existing property. Also, it funds new developments or acquisitions. Customers will enjoy a flexible term that ranges from short to long-term.

Domestic Trade Financing Products

These products allow customers who trade in goods and services to have access to banking services that make this process simpler. Furthermore, the bank provides services that allow the companies to have a clear understanding of where they stand. Also, the products provide services in two categories: international trade financing products and domestic trade financing products. Some of the products available to customers include:

  • Domestic Packing Loan
  • Buyer Financing under Letter of Credit
  • Negotiation of Domestic Letter of Credit
  • Domestic Factoring Service
  • Domestic Invoice Financing
  • Commodity Financing
  • Also, Domestic Letters of Credit and
  • Domestic Order Financing and Purchase Financing
Real Estate Development Loans

These are important to ensure that the real estate markets remain ready for new investment. Furthermore, this sector is known to play a significant role in the economy as businesses continue using premises and people continue using homes. Some of the loans in this category include:

  • Residential Development Loan
  • Also, Commercial Development Loan and
  • Land Reserve Loan
Fixed Assets Support Financing

This finance is available to businesses who have fixed assets in mind that will generate an income for them. Furthermore, the finance provides funding for stable cash flow while the asset is set up. The income these assets provide include service fee revenues, rent revenues, and operating revenues.

Merging and Acquiring Loans

This loan provides businesses with the capital to fund mergers and acquisitions. Furthermore, it allows the businesses or their subsidiaries to cover all the costs and prices of the transaction.

Special Financing Products

This division specializes in the global investment and financing field to allow businesses to increase their global presence. Some of the operations include overseas investment, financing, and cross-border capital operation.

Financing Lease

This service provides leasing of special assets that are not always financed as ownership might not be in the entity’s best interest. Furthermore, businesses are able to discuss their leasing needs to come to an agreement that is mutually beneficial. The lease agreements currently available include:

  • Aircraft Leasing
  • Also, Ship Leasing and
  • Equipment Leasing

Internet Finance

This type of finance provides businesses with the means to finance their operations through their internet portal. Some of the products they can apply for, include:

  • Easy Finance Link
  • Online Loan Link
  • Also, Online merchandise Mart Finance and
  • e-Supply Chain Finance

Small Business Finance

The Small Business division is slightly less intricate, yet require proper support as they play a vital role to any economy. This division requires specialized services to take care of their needs. Furthermore, fast and efficient services and products can make or break these businesses. Some of these products and services include:

  • A Business Profile
  • Unique Finance Products
  • Settlement Service for Small Enterprises
  • Bank Cards
  • E-Banking
  • Investment Banking Advisory Services
  • Also, Corporate Annuity Services and
  • And Other Unique Solutions

Corporate Wealth Management

Wealth management services provide corporates with the opportunity to increase their current asset portfolios with a variety of tailored solutions. Some of the divisions corporates can look forward to dealing in, include:

  • Precious Metals
  • Also, OTC Book-Entry Bond Trading and
  • Corporate Financial Products

Global Services

Screenshot of Some of the Corporate Banking Products ICBC

These services are vital to the businesses and corporates who deal with foreign investments and trade.

Services Mart

This section of global services deals with all the products related to transactions. These are:

  • Invitation to Tender
  • Contract Negotiation
  • Enter Agreement
  • Goods Collection
  • Production and Sales
  • Payment Against Import
  • Also, Export Collection and
  • And Contract Completed

Other services include International Settlement, Trade Financing, F/X Guarantee, Risk Management, F/X Financial Products, and more.

There are two aspects covered under this service:

  • The Flow of Import Services Mart and
  • The Flow of Export Services Mart
Commercial Package

This product offering covers all the aspects of import and export services. Furthermore, customers can expect to learn more of the characteristics of current China trade, development trend, and international trade policy. The products include:

  • Trade Settlement
  • Trade Financing
  • F/X Risk Aversion
  • Also, Smart Investment and
  • RMB Settlement Finance
International Settlement

This is a vital service to ensure that suppliers or clients that provide services or goods are paid in the most efficient way possible. Services in this division include:

  • Export Letter of Credit
  • Export Documentary Collection
  • Traveler’s Checks
  • Import Letter of Credit
  • Consultancy Import and Export
  • Import Collection
  • Also, International Remittances and
  • Time Letter of Credit (Buyer)
Trade Financing

Apart from providing the necessary means to complete transactions, trade financing also takes care of all the necessary paperwork.

  • Export Bill Purchase/Discount
  • Finance for Cost of Freight and Insurance for International Trade
  • Shipping Guarantee/Bill of Lading Endorsement
  • Export Invoice Credit
  • Payment Against Import
  • Advance Against Import Document
  • Export Purchase Order Credit
  • L/C Confirmation
  • Import Factoring
  • Export Factoring
  • Forfaiting
  • Import Bill Purchase
  • Packing Loan
  • Also, Short-Term Export Credit Insurance Facility and
  • Import T/T Credit Facility
International Financing

Businesses who operate on a global front require finance of a different nature. Furthermore, this type of finance is specialized and go right to the heart of the need of the clients.

  • Re-Loan Financing of International Financing Institution Loan
  • International Financing Institution Loan (Re-Loan Financing)
  • Import Buyer Credit (Re-Loan Financing)
  • Overseas Debt Issue
  • Export Buyer Crediting
  • Export Seller Crediting
  • Also, Overseas Resources Development Projects Financing and
  • Overseas Loan Under Domestic Guarantee
FX Guarantee

Foreign exchange provides the necessary tools to allow the exchange of currencies for foreign transactions.

  • Payment Guarantee
  • Deferred Payment Guarantee
  • Advance Payment Guarantee
  • Bid Guarantee
  • Performance Guarantee
  • Quality or Maintenance Guarantee
  • Guarantee Advising
  • Tax Payment Guarantee
Other Services
  • Trade All the Way
  • Remittance Collection in Trade Finance
  • Combined Payment
  • Corporate Group International Settlement and Trade Finance Solution
  • Foreign Offices Link
  • Trade & Money
  • Remittance Payment Link
  • TT Facility for Import Fuel Oil
  • Fast Import and Export Money
  • Invoice-Money Link
  • Secure Remittance Link
  • Global Project Link
  • Cross Border Link
  • Security Deposit Ledge for Processing Trade

Other Business and Corporate Services

Trust Agency Business

This is an intermediary service provided between the customer and their customers. Furthermore, this includes business relationships with government departments, national policy banks, enterprises, and more. Trust agency businesses include:

  • National Development Bank’s Trust Agency Business
  • Chinese Import and Export Banks Agency Trust Business
  • Departments of State Council Agency Trust Loan Business
  • Agency of Three Gorgers Reservoir Migration Funds Business
  • Agency of General Trust Loan
Entrusted Loan

This type of loan is where ICBC acts as the agent of entrusted funds. Furthermore, the principal of these funds include government departments, enterprises, public institutions, and individuals. These funds are administered according to:

  • Target Borrowers
  • Purpose
  • Amount
  • Term
  • And Rate
Business Card Service

This allows government organizations and enterprises to perform transactions as and when needed. Furthermore, this allows minor purchases such as office supplies and conference expenses to be taken care of immediately.

General Entrusted Loan

This allows the bank to facilitate loans between companies and enterprises and also act as the agent. Furthermore, the loan provides the peace of mind needed to ensure all the paperwork is taken care of.

Review of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

Find out whether the bank performs well when compared to a bank such as National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

Customer Satisfaction Reviews


Screenshot of Glassdoor Rating of ICBC

From an employee perspective, the bank requires some improvements. It scores a 3.6 of 5 and only 59% of the staff would recommend the bank to their others. Furthermore, the CEO receives a fair vote of confidence, with 86% of staff approving of him. Some of the detractors for employees include poor talent management and career prospects, lower salaries than competitors, poor systems, and more.


We are unable to make use of this rating, as this is for the branch in the USA.


Once again another US-based review. Also, this review has no customer feedback. Finally, Credio reviewed the bank as a whole and gave it a 77%.

Financial Stability Rating

The bank enjoys good ratings from ratings agencies such a Fitch and Moody’s. Furthermore, the outlook is stable and positive.

Security of Funds

The Deposit Insurance Fund Manager is China’s answer to deposit insurance. Furthermore, this allows clients to have some peace of mind where their deposits are concerned, even though the amounts are almost a third of that offered in the United States.

Review by Critical Reviews – 8 of 10

ICBC is a bank that leaped to every opportunity to provide modern banking to its clients. It still takes advantage of opportunities and steadily carves the way for others. Furthermore, the bank provides the benchmark for others and as the biggest bank in the world based on asset holdings, it’s surprising to remember that it hails from an emerging market. The bank itself also provides products and services that aim to simplify daily transaction needs of individuals and businesses.

With that in mind, the bank can simplify the transactions slightly by allowing customers to apply for their products online. This will also prevent the amount of time spent in banks by the clients. Furthermore, customer satisfaction ratings need to be a bit more transparent in order for the rating to improve.

Societe Generale is a bank that offers a decent product range, and we recently did a full review.