Features : World's Safest Banks

The World’s Safest Banks 2004
Global Finance selects the World’s Safest Banks, the 50 institutions with the highest ratings from the leading international credit ratings agencies.

 

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It is perhaps a sign of things to come that a giant French bank has snatched the top spot in Global Finance’s Safest Banks ranking, from Germany’s venerable Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg. As the German landesbanks contemplate losing their government guarantees next year, they will be facing increasing challenges to their dominance of the safest banks listing. In fact, next year could see a significant shake-up at the top. The Netherlands’ Rabobank is only one upgrade away from re-establishing itself as the world’s safest bank—a distinction it held until last year, when Fitch nudged it down to a AA+ from its long-held triple-A rating.

In a world where business is becoming increasingly global, banking clients will be looking for reassurance that their banks can provide the security they are looking for. And while the total number of triple-A ratings among the top 50 has barely changed over the past year, the total assets they manage has grown markedly. With such enormous asset bases, there is little doubt that these banks can handle any shocks they might encounter.

As always, we have constructed our ranking based on size and credit quality. This year we began with a pool of 500 of the world’s largest banks by asset size, collated from Bureau van Dijk’s BankScope, a database of financial information covering 11,000 global banks. We then applied ratings from Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s, with appropriate weightings. Where there was no published rating from any one agency, one was inferred, but with a penalty applied.

Where banks were rated equally by all three ratings agencies, or had equal inferred ratings, the largest of the banks was awarded the highest ranking.




Dan Keeler





How we measure the safety of banks


The chart on page 68 compares the ratings for the world’s 50 safest banks, based on long-term foreign currency ratings from Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s. Holding companies have been rated rather than subsidiary banks, and government import-export finance institutions have been omitted. For each credit level, institutions with three top ratings are listed first, two top ratings second, and one top rating third. A single rating ranks higher than the absence of any rating (N/R). Within each rank set, banks are rated according to asset size. Ratings are reproduced with permission of the three ratings agencies, with all rights reserved. Bank asset sizes were supplied by Bureau van Dijk’s BankScope database. A rating is not a recommendation to purchase, sell or hold a security, and it does not comment on market price or suitability for a particular investor. Because Moody’s uses different ratings from the other agencies, equivalents are shown in the table on the right.
How we measure the safety of banks
Fitch Ratings/
Standard & Poor's
Moody's
AAA
Aaa
AA+ Aa1
AA
Aa2
AA- Aa3
A+
A1
A
A2
A-
A3
BBB+
Baa1
BBB
Baa2
BBB-
Baa3
BB+
Ba1
BB
Ba2
BB–
Ba3
B/B+
B1
CCC
B2
NR
NR

 







The World’s safest Banks 2004
RB Name Country Fi Mo S&P TA $ billion
1 Caisse des Dépôts et ConsignationGroupe Caisse des Dépôts France AAA Aaa AAA 480.0
2
Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg
Germany
AAA
Aaa
AAA
395.0
3=
Bayerische Landesbank
Germany
AAA
Aaa
AAA
380.0
3= KfW Group Germany AAA
Aaa AAA 380.0
5 Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten Netherlands AAA
Aaa AAA 106.0
6
Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank
Germany
AAA
Aaa
AAA
84.2
7
Rabobank Group
Netherlands
AA+
Aaa
AAA
509.4
8
Landesbank Hessen-Thueringen
Germany
AAA
Aaa
AA+
171.2
9
Nederlandse Waterschapsbank
Netherlands
N/R
Aaa
AAA
32.5
10
Oesterreichische Kontrollbank
Austria
N/R
Aaa
AAA
30.3
11
DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale
Germany
AAA
Aaa
AA
119.6
12
Zurich Cantonal Bank
Switzerland
N/R
N/R
AAA
62.0
13
Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale NORD/LB
Germany
AAA
Aa1
N/R
230.1
14
Lloyds TSB Bank
United Kingdom
AA+
Aaa
AA
363.6
15
Landesbank Rheinland-Pfalz
Germany
AAA
Aa1
AA
79.7
16
UBS
Switzerland
AA+
Aa2
AA+
1,120.6
17
Barclays Bank
United Kingdom
AA+
Aa1
AA
776.7
18
NRW Bank
Germany
AAA
N/R
AA
356.8
19
WestLB
Germany
AAA
Aa2
AA
321.6
20
Landesbank Sachsen
Germany
AAA
Aa2
AA
70.1
21
Banque et Caisse d'Epargne de l'Etat Luxembourg
Luxembourg N/R
Aa1
AA+
45.9
22
Dexia
Belgium
AA+
N/R
N/R
441.4
23
Banco Popular Espanol
Spain AA
Aa1
AA
66.2
24
Citigroup
United States
AA+
N/R
AA-
1,264.0
25
BNP Paribas
France AA
Aa2
AA
988.9
26
HSH Nordbank
Germany AAA
Aa3
AA-
213.6
27
Crédit Agricole
France AA
Aa2
AA-
992.7
28
Danske Bank
Denmark AA-
Aa1
AA-
306.3
29
Royal Bank of Canada
Canada AA
Aa2
AA-
300.9
30
Groupe Caisse d'Epargne
France AA
N/R
N/R
480.8
31
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria
Spain AA-
Aa2
AA-
356.9
32
UniCredito Italiano
Italy
AA-
Aa2
AA-
300.7
33
National Australia Bank
Australia
AA
Aa3
AA-
257.0
34
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Australia
AA
Aa3
AA-
168.1
35
Svenska Handelsbanken
Sweden AA-
Aa1
A+
167.7
36
Royal Bank of Scotland Group
United Kingdom
AA
N/R
AA-
806.2
37
HBOS
United Kingdom
AA
N/R
AA-
728.9
38
Wells Fargo
United States
AA
N/R
AA-
387.8
39
State Street
United States AA
N/R
AA-
87.5
40
Deutsche Bank
Germany
AA-
Aa3
AA-
1,014.8
41
Société Générale
France AA-
Aa3
AA-
681.2
42
Depfa Bank
Ireland AA-
Aa3
AA-
219.7
43
Bank of Montreal
Canada AA-
Aa3
AA-
190.1
44
Westpac Banking Corporation
Australia
AA-
Aa3
AA-
148.0
45
Caja de Ahorros y Pensiones de Barcelona
Spain
AA-
Aa2
A+
146.1
46
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group
Australia
AA-
Aa3
AA-
124.1
47
Caja Madrid-Caja de Ahorros y Monte de Piedad de Madrid
Spain
AA-
Aa2
A+
96.2
48
United Overseas Bank
Singapore
AA-
Aa2
A+
66.7
49
ABN AMRO
Netherlands
AA-
N/R
AA-
707.8
50
Fortis
Belgium
AA-
N/R
AA-
653.5

 

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