Three of China's “big four” banks ranked in the top five in terms of profits among all banks around the world last year, the UK magazine The Banker released on Wednesday.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the largest bank by market value in the country, ranked the first with total profits of up to $21.3 billion in 2008.

China's Construction Bank (CCB) and Bank of China gained profits of $17.5 billion and $12.6 billion last year, ranking No. 2 and No.4 among all banks around the world. The largest bank in Spain, Banco Santander Central Hispano and Spanish BBVA, listed No. 3 and No. 5, respectively.

According to the magazine, total profits in the global banking sector slumped 85% to $115 billion last year, and the return on equity dropped to 2.69% from 20% in 2007.

Viewed according to Tier 1 capital, America's JP Morgan topped the list, followed by Bank of America, Citigroup, Royal Bank of Scotland and British HSBC. Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ, in seventh place, is rated highest among banks in Asia.