World’s Best Banks 2020: Who’s Most Prepared To Weather The Storm?

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Source: Global Finance Magazine 

Global Finance’s 27th annual awards for the World’s Best Banks honor winners in more than 150 countries and seven global regions, as well as eight regions in the US. 

The coming year is certain to be challenging for banks worldwide. Economic setbacks stemming from the Covid-19 crisis could prompt them to take a closer look at credit quality and tighten lending standards to contain nonperforming loans in hard-hit sectors. Meanwhile, low and negative interest rates and yield-curve inversions, a product in part of central banks’ efforts to contain the economic fallout, are challenging bank profitability. And societal concerns about such issues as climate change and banks’ commitment to socially responsible policies have come to the fore. 

Even before the novel coronavirus fastened its grip, Deloitte’s 2020 banking industry outlook predicted that banks would be forced to set new social priorities and sacrifice short-term gains for long-term sustainability. “The low-growth scenario, in particular, could result in a drastic reduction in banking capacity, with fewer banks than we have today able to recover their cost of equity,” according to the December 2019 report. 

The health crisis only worsens an already problematic situation. “Borrowers’ cash flow will come under increasing pressure over the second half of 2020 as the global spread of the coronavirus materially slows economic activity,” says Olivier Panis, head of Financial Institutions at Moody’s Investors Service in Paris. “Increased credit spreads, distorted capital markets and lower capital liquidity in some banking systems could prompt borrowers to increase their drawdowns of available bank credit facilities, which in turn will put pressure on liquidity ratios.” 

The good news is that despite their exposures, the biggest global investment banks have good levels of high-quality liquid assets available to cover borrowers’ needs as they accelerate their drawdown rates, Panis adds. 

But banks face other problems. In March, Fitch Ratings downgraded its outlook for US banks from stable to negative, predicting that the Federal Reserve’s decision to cut interest rates to near zero “will adversely affect spread revenue for a number of quarters, while fee income will be hampered from low levels of client activity.” Many central banks around the world have followed the Fed with rate cuts of their own. 

Despite the squeeze on their profits, commercial banks in many countries cut fees and eased repayment requirements, often at the urging of their central banks, to help manage the crisis. 

No one is spared when a crisis of this magnitude unfolds, but those that display solid fundamentals stand a better chance of making it through this difficult period in a healthy and competitive state. The winners of Global Finance’s Best Bank Awards are financial institutions that best display these qualities.  


Global Finance editors, with input from industry analysts, corporate executives and technology experts, selects the winners for the Best Bank Awards using entries provided by banks and other providers, as well as independent research based on a set of objective and subjective factors. It is not necessary to enter in order to win, but experience shows that the additional information supplied in an entry can increase the chance of success. In many cases, entrants are able to provide details and insights that may not be readily available to the editors. 

Judgments were based on performance over the period from January 1 to December 31, 2019. We applied an algorithm to shorten the list of contenders and arrived at a numerical score, with 100 equivalent to perfection. The proprietary algorithm incorporates criteria—including knowledge of local conditions and customer needs, financial strength and safety, strategic relationships and governance, competitive pricing, capital investment and innovation in products and services—weighted for relative importance. 

Once we have narrowed the field, our final criteria include scope of global coverage, size of staff, customer service, risk management, range of products and services, execution skills and smart use of technology. In the case of a tie, our bias leans toward a local provider rather than a global institution. We also tend to favor privately owned banks over government-owned institutions. The winners are those banks that best serve the specialized needs of corporations as they engage in global business. The winners are not always the biggest, but rather the best: those with qualities that companies should look for when choosing a provider. 


Regional Winners 
North America Bank of America 
Latin America Santander 
Western Europe CaixaBank 
Central & Eastern Europe Raiffeisen Bank International 
Asia-Pacific DBS 
Middle East Arab Bank 
Africa Standard Bank 
North America Winners 
Bermuda Butterfield Bank 
Canada Royal Bank of Canada 
United States Bank of America 
Latin America Winners 
Argentina Banco Marco 
Bahamas Scotiabank Bahamas 
Barbados RBC Royal Bank 
Belize Belize Bank 
Bolivia Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz 
Brazil Banco Bradesco 
Cayman Islands Cayman National Bank 
Colombia Banco de Chile 
Costa Rica Banco de Bogotá 
Dominican Republic BAC Credomatic 
Ecuador Banreservas 
El Salvador Produbanco 
Guatemala Banco Cuscatlán 
Honduras Banco Industrial 
Jamaica Banco Atlántida 
Mexico National Commercial Bank  
Nicaragua BBVA Bancomer 
Panama Banco LAFISE Bancentro 
Paraguay Banco General 
Peru Banco Itaú Paraguay 
Puerto Rico Banco Popular de Puerto Rico 
Trinidad & Tobago Scotiabank Trinidad & Tobago 
Turks & Caicos Scotiabank Turks & Caicos 
Uruguay Banco Santander Uruguay 
US Virgin Islands FirstBank Virgin Islands 
Venezuela Mercantil Banco Universal 
Western Europe Winners 
Andorra Credit Andorra 
Austria BAWAG Group 
Belgium BNP Paribas 
Cyprus Hellenic Bank 
Denmark Nordea 
Finland Nordea 
France Credit Mutuel 
Germany DZ Bank 
Greece Eurobank Ergasias 
Iceland Landsbankinn 
Ireland Allied Irish Bank 
Italy Unicredit 
Liechenstein LLB 
Luxembourg BCEE 
Malta HSBC 
Monaco CFM Indosuez Wealth 
Netherlands ING 
Norway DNB 
Portugal Banco Santander Totta 
Spain CaixaBank 
Sweden SEB 
Switzerland Credit Suisse 
UK Barclays 
Central & Eastern Europe Winners 
Albania Banka Kombetare Tregtare 
Armenia Ardshinbank 
Belarus Belarusbank 
Bosnia & Hercegovina UniCredit 
Bulgaria UniCredit Bulbank 
Croatia Raiffeisenbank 
Czech Republic CSOB 
Estonia SEB Pank 
Georgia TBC Pank 
Hungary OTP Bank 
Kosovo TEB Bank 
Latvia SEB banka Latvia 
Lithuania Sialiu Bankas 
Moldova Moldova Agroindbank 
Montenegro CKB 
North Macedonia Ohridska Banka 
Poland PKO Polski 
Romania Banca Transilvania 
Russia Alfa-Bank 
Serbia Banca Intesa Beograd 
Slovakia Slovenska Sporitelna 
Slovenia SKB Banka 
Turkey Akbank 
Ukraine Raiffeisen Bank Aval 
Asia-Pacific Winners 
Afghanistan Ghazanfar Bank 
Australia Commonwealth Bank 
Azerbaijan International Bank of Azerbaijan 
Bangladesh Prime Bank 
Brunei Darussalam Baiduri Bank 
Cambodia ABA Bank 
China ICBC 
Hong Kong The Bank of East Asia 
India State Bank of India 
Indonesia Bank Mandiri 
Japan SMBC 
Kazakhstan ForteBank 
Kyrgyzstan Optima Bank 
Macau ICBC Macau 
Malaysia Maybank 
Mongolia Khan Bank 
Myanmar CB Bank 
Nepal Rastriya Banijya 
New Zealand Westpac New Zealand 
Pakistan Habib Bank 
Philippines BDO Unibank 
Singapore DBS 
South Korea Hana Bank 
Sri Lanka Commercial Bank of Ceylon 
Taiwan E.Sun 
Thailand Bangkok Bank 
Uzbekistan Asia Alliance Bank 
Vietnam MSB 
Middle East Winners 
Bahrain Ahli United Bank 
Egypt Commercial International Bank 
Iraq Trade Bank of Iraq 
Israel Bank Hapoalim 
Jordan Arab Bank 
Kuwait National Bank of Kuwait 
Lebanon BLOM Bank 
Oman Bank Muscat 
Palestine Bank of Palestine 
Qatar Qatar National Bank 
Saudi Arabia SABB 
United Arab Emirates First Abu Dhabi Bank 
Yemen Arab Bank Yemen 
Africa Winners 
Algeria Societe Generale Algerie 
Angola Banco de Fomento Angola 
Benin Banque Atlantique 
Botswana Absa Bank Botswana 
Burkina Faso United Bank for Africa 
Cameroon Societe Generale Cameroun 
Côte d’Ivoire Banque Atlantique 
DR Congo Trust Merchant Bank 
Djibouti CAC International Bank 
Equatorial Guinea National Bank of Equatorial Guinea 
Ethiopia Commercial Bank of Ethiopia 
Gambia Ecobank Gambia 
Ghana Fidelity Bank Ghana 
Guinea Societe Generale de Banques en Guinée 
Kenya KCB Bank Kenya 
Madagascar BNI Madagascar 
Malawi National Bank of Malawi 
Mali Ecobank Mali 
Mauritius SBM Bank 
Morocco Attijariwafa Bank 
Mozambique Millennium bim 
Namibia First National Bank of Namibia 
Nigeria Zenith Bank 
Rwanda I&M Bank Rwanda 
Senegal Societe Generale Senegal 
Sierra Leone Union Trust Bank 
South Africa Standard Bank 
Sudan Omdurman National Bank 
Tanzania CRDB Bank 
Togo Ecobank Togo 
Tunisia Amen Bank 
Uganda Stanbic Bank Uganda 
Zambia Zambia National Commercial Bank 
Zimbabwe CBZ Bank 
US Regional Winners 
Far West Union Bank 
Great Lakes US Bancorp 
Mid-Atlantic Citizens Bank 
New England Citizens Bank 
Plains US Bancorp 
Rocky Mountain Zions Bancorp 
Southeast Trust Corp. (formerly SunTrust) 
Southwest US Bancorp 

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