Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is
A: This website is the go-to online resource for trends, data and analysis related to banking systems worldwide. It is an initiative of the Milken Institute's Center for Financial Markets.

Q: What resources can I find on
A: The foundation of the website is our data platform, which uses a graphic approach to help explain and compare the banking systems and regulatory regimes of more than 200 countries. How restrictive are a country's banking regulations? How independent are the regulators? What are the size and structure of its financial system? We answer these questions and many more. Users will find large data sets that they can download and use in their own research. You will also find ready-to-use charts and maps that you can also manipulate as well as relevant research reports, videos, tutorials and blog posts.

Q: Why is the website unique?
A: is unlike any other online resource. Its original data set builds on four surveys the World Bank conducted with hundreds of banking regulators in 180 nations starting in 1999. Milken Institute senior fellows then filled in the blanks — persuading some reticent government agencies to provide answers they hadn't and expanding on the questions asked — and then determined how to make that information uniform and measurable. The result is a unique database that reveals facts, figures and the transparency of banking systems around the world.

Q: What is the goal of
A: The Milken Institute's Center for Financial Markets developed to ensure policymakers and banking practitioners make the most informed decisions possible, help academics and journalists broaden their understanding of the issues and raise awareness of factors that impact global banking.

Key Charts and Maps

Q: What will I find in these sections?
A: We've highlighted the most interesting data points with charts and maps you can manipulate, download, share or embed on your blog or website. For instance, see how the world's biggest banks have grown even bigger. Which countries tightened banks' capital requirements after the financial crisis — and which nations loosened them?

Q: How often has this data been updated?
A: Most of the charts are related to particular research reports or a blog. Every chart mentions the year when that particular chart has been updated.

Q: Are all of your charts and maps interactive?
A: All have some interactivity. Most allow you to filter in various ways, and you can see more information by letting your cursor hover over sections. Most of the charts let you download the underlying data set and download the chart as a pdf or an image.

Q: Can I download the data behind these charts and maps?
A: Yes, you can download the data.

Q: Can I use the charts and maps posted on
A: Yes, the charts, maps and data can all be used provided you credit the creators.

Q: Are all of your charts from research products?
A: In general, all charts are related to a particular report or research-related blog, and the citations for each are mentioned below each chart. But some charts in these sections are simply things we found engaging because they tell an interesting story.

Q: Will all your charts fall under one of the four themes mentioned on the Overview page for Key Charts (Size and Structure of Financial Systems, Non-bank financial intermediaries, Too-big-to-fail and the Financial Crisis and Bank Regulation)?
A: Yes, but as more people contribute data, we will create new sections to accommodate their charts.

Q: Where can I find past Chart of the Week entries?
A: Click on Chart of the Week in the Overview section of Key Charts for an archive. Also, each new Chart of the Week is added under the appropriate section of Key Charts.

Q: How do I download the data from the charts?
A: The tutorial section of the website has details on how to download the data.

Q: How should I cite data or a chart from this section?
A: The sources are listed beneath the charts and maps.


Click to interact with this data Q: Do you have interactive reports?
A: Some charts in "Measure It, Improve it" are linked to the Key Charts section of, and we intend to add this interactivity to others. Look for icons like this one embedded in the charts. Clicking on the icon opens a browser and takes you to the chart in interactive format on

Q: What are the sources for the data and how recent is the data on the Countries page?
A: We used two main data sources for the countries page: the International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook (IMF WEO) and the World Bank World Development Indicators (WB WDI). The IMF WEO figures are estimates for 2013, and the WB WDI figures are from 2011. The sources and the categories are listed in the table below.

Data Sources

GDP per capita
Total investment
Gross national savings
Unemployment rate
Current account balance
General government revenue
General government total expenditures
General government net debt
General government gross debt
Deposit interest rate
Lending interest rate
Real interest rate
Debt interest payments
Top banks

Q: What do the charts on the country page represent?
A: The charts in the country page have been re-created from the Global Banking Regulation data set. The charts describe how that particular country is performing compared to the world average for that particular category. A detailed analysis for this section is available in the Data Set section under Global Banking Regulation.

Q: How do you rank the top banks?
A: We rank the top banks using Bankscope. We have ranked them according to total assets and exclude banks that do not take deposits. We also do not include subsidiary banks.

Q: What are the data sources used to group the countries into region and income categories?
A: We have used World Bank as our source to group the countries into region and income categories.

Data Set

Q: How many data sets do you have?
A: We currently have two data sets: Global Banking Regulation and Global Financial Regulation.

Q: What is the source of the data set?
A: The data set Global Banking Regulation was created by Jim Barth, Gerard Caprio and Ross Levine based on four surveys sponsored by the World Bank. They worked with the World Bank to create this extensive survey with the help of bank regulatory officials from about 180 countries. The last survey was released in 2012 and provided banking policy regimes in 125 countries. They are often referred to as Survey I, II, III and IV for the four different surveys conducted in four different years.

The data set Global Financial Development was been created by Thorsten Beck, Asli Demirguc-Kunt, Ross Levine, Martin Cihak and Erik H.B. Feyen. This database of indicators of financial development and structure across countries and over time includes a range of indicators (31 in total starting from 1960) that measure the size, activity, and efficiency of financial intermediaries and markets.

The compiled data permits the construction of financial structure indicators to measure whether, for example, a country's banks are larger, more active, and more efficient than its stock markets. These indicators can then be used to investigate the empirical link between the legal, regulatory, and policy environment and indicators of financial structure. They can also be used to analyze the implications of financial structure for economic growth.

Q: How have you assigned a number to the various indicators for the different countries?
A: The numbers assigned to countries for each indicator are derived from the index. The construction of the index and methodology are discussed in details in the data set section under each set. For further questions, please feel free to contact us at

Q: Can we contribute our data/research to the banking microsite?
A: If you have a database or research that you would like to highlight on our website, please contact us for more details.

Q: How should I cite data from this section?
A: Each data set's source is listed on its landing page as well as beneath it.