Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Inside a Mega-IPO: China Postal Bank’s (Very Large) Numbers

  • Lender will be No. 1 listed bank by outlets, with 40,000
  • $1 trillion of deposits and half a billion customers

Not everyone is a fan of Postal Savings Bank of China Co., the lender that could raise $8 billion in the world’s biggest initial public offering this year.

QuickTake Postal Banking

“Safe but poorly managed” and “sleepy and inefficient” were two descriptions from Sanford C. Bernstein banking analyst Wei Hou this week.

Still, one thing that’s not lacking is scale. The bank will be the world’s biggest listed lender by outlets, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

With tens of thousands of post offices acting as agents, the lender’s reach extends across remote regions and down to county level, giving it a role in China’s efforts to develop rural areas and improve the lot of farmers.

QuickTake: Postal Banks, Boon for the Poor -- or for Bureaucrats?

Postal Savings Bank will be the last of China’s commercial banking giants to list, following Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., Bank of China Ltd., China Construction Bank Corp. and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd.

Here are numbers that illustrate the size of the business, based on a prelisting filing released by Hong Kong’s stock exchange this week.

40,057 outlets

That was the number at the end of March -- exceeding listed banks known for the size of their networks, such as Japan Post Bank Co. and Agricultural Bank, which both have about 24,000.

505 million retail customers

That’s more than one in three Chinese citizens, the largest customer base of any of the country’s banks, and more than the population of the euro area.

3 Central Parks of property

The lender owns 3,138 properties with a total gross floor area of 3.57 square kilometers, about the same as the size of Central Park in Manhattan. Add in another 13,659 leased properties and the area gets close to the equivalent of three Central Parks.

$1 trillion of deposits

This isn’t a huge number by the standards of the biggest Chinese banks -- but it’s more than the annual gross domestic product of Ireland, Greece, Portugal and the Czech Republic combined, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

107 million mobile banking users

Not a bad slice of the 1.8 billion mobile banking users forecast for the world by 2019 in a report from KPMG last year.

160,598 employees

Sizable -- but not even a contender when it comes to the work forces of the biggest Chinese banks. The No. 1 for staffing, Agricultural Bank, had more than 500,000 employees at the end of last year.

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