Growing litigation expenses and fines, new regulations and tighter capital requirements have created a minefield for banks, particularly in the US and Europe. Banks are reinventing themselves after cleansing their books of the bad loans from the financial crisis. Lower loan-loss provisions are a one-shot deal, requiring bankers to find new ways to grow revenue. Many banks are returning to the basics of taking deposits and making loans, while harnessing new technology to improve efficiency. However, some are returning to the “slice and dice” techniques that got them in trouble six years ago.

The only sure way to guard against a future breakdown of the financial system is for regulators to put “more boots on the ground,” says Thomas Curry, US Comptroller of the Currency. “What’s most important is the presence of examiners, seasoned professionals who bring the benefit of sound judgment and years of experience to their work,” he told a recent conference at Boston University. Banking regulators around the world are beginning to work more closely with one another, he said, noting that bank examiners from Australia, Canada and Singapore had reviewed the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s large and midsize bank supervision program last December, and that some of their recommendations will be implemented.

Meanwhile, banking and capital market CEOs are showing signs of optimism about the global economy, according to a survey by PwC. “Industry leaders see technology, including the digital economy, social media, mobile devices, big data and other developments, as likely to have a transformational impact on their businesses over the next five years,” says Robert Sullivan, global banking and capital markets leader at PwC. But many bank CEOs say that regulatory upheaval is making it difficult for them to deal with these longer-term trends, Sullivan says.

In our 21st annual survey, Global Finance identifies the best banks in 150 countries and eight regions. The winners are not always the biggest banks, but rather, the best—those with the qualities that corporations should look for when choosing a bank. In selecting the winners, we relied on input from industry analysts, corporate executives and banking consultants, as well as research by Global Finance’s reporters and editors. Our selection criteria included knowledge of local conditions and customer needs, growth in assets, profitability, strategic relationships, innovative products, competitive pricing, level of nonperforming loans and effective use of technology. 

Awards By Region (Full List Below):

North America
Western Europe
Central & Eastern Europe
Latin America
Middle East
Best U.S. Regional Banks


North America Bank of America
Western Europe ING
Nordic Region Nordea
CEE Raiffeisen Bank International
Latin America Banco Santander
Asia-Pacific DBS Bank
Middle East Arab Bank
Africa Standard Bank
New England: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont Eastern Bank
Mideast: Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania PNC Bank
Great Lakes: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin U.S. Bancorp
Plains: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota UMB Financial
Southeast: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia SunTrust
Southwest: Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas Comerica
Rocky Mountain: Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming Zions Bancorporation
Far West: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and Washington Silicon Valley Bank
Bermuda HSBC Bank Bermuda
Canada Royal Bank of Canada
US Bank of America
Andorra Morabanc
Austria Erste Bank
Belgium ING
France BNP Paribas
Germany Commerzbank
Greece Piraeus Bank
Ireland Bank of Ireland
Italy Intesa Sanpaolo
Luxembourg Banque et Caisse d’Épargne de l’État
Malta Bank of Valletta
Netherlands ING
Portugal Banco Santander Totta
Spain Santander
Switzerland UBS
UK Lloyds Banking Group
Denmark Nordea
Finland Nordea
Iceland Landsbankinn
Norway DnB
Sweden SEB
Australia ANZ Group
Hong Kong HSBC
Israel Bank Hapoalim
Japan Mitsubishi UFJ Financial
New Zealand ANZ New Zealand
Singapore DBS Bank
Albania Intesa Sanpaolo
Belarus Priorbank
Bosnia & Herzegovina Raiffeisen Bank dd Bosnia i Hercegovina
Bulgaria UniCredit Bulbank
Croatia Privredna banka Zagreb
Czech Republic ČSOB
Estonia Nordea Bank Estonia
Hungary OTP Bank
Kosovo Raiffeisen Bank Kosovo
Latvia Nordea Bank Latvia
Lithuania SEB
Macedonia Komercijalna banka AD Skopje
Moldova Moldindconbank
Poland Alior Bank
Romania Banca Transilvania
Russia Sberbank
Serbia Raiffeisen Bank Serbia
Slovakia VÚB banka
Slovenia SKB Banka
Turkey Akbank
Ukraine PrivatBank
Argentina Banco Macro
Barbados Scotiabank Barbados
Belize Belize Bank
Bolivia Banco de Crédito de Bolivia
Brazil Itaú Unibanco
Chile Banco de Chile
Colombia Bancolombia
Costa Rica Banco de Costa Rica
Dominican Republic Citi
Ecuador Banco Pichincha
El Salvador Banco Agrícola
Guatemala Banco Industrial
Honduras Banco Atlántida
Jamaica Scotiabank Jamaica
Mexico BBVA Bancomer
Nicaragua Banco Lafise Bancentro
Panama Banco General
Paraguay Banco Itaú Paraguay
Peru BBVA Continental
Puerto Rico Banco Santander Puerto Rico
Trinidad & Tobago Scotiabank Trinidad & Tobago
Turks & Caicos Scotiabank Turks & Caicos
Uruguay BBVA Uruguay
US Virgin Islands Scotiabank USVI
Venezuela BBVA Banco Provincial
Afghanistan Afghanistan International Bank
Armenia Ameriabank
Azerbaijan International Bank of Azerbaijan
Bangladesh United Commercial Bank
Brunei Darussalam Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam
Cambodia Acleda Bank
China China Merchants Bank
Georgia TBC Bank
India HDFC Bank
Indonesia Bank Central Asia
Kazakhstan Halyk Bank
Kyrgyzstan Demir Kyrgyz International Bank
Macau ICBC Macau
Malaysia Public Bank (Malaysia)
Mongolia XacBank
Myanmar Co-operative Bank
Nepal Standard Chartered Bank Nepal
Pakistan United Bank Limited
Philippines BDO Unibank
South Korea Shinhan Bank
Sri Lanka Commercial Bank of Ceylon
Taiwan CTBC Bank
Thailand Siam Commercial Bank
Uzbekistan Asia Alliance Bank
Vietnam Sacombank
Bahrain Ahli United Bank
Egypt Commercial International Bank
Iran Bank Melli Iran
Iraq Bank of Baghdad
Jordan Arab Bank
Kuwait National Bank of Kuwait
Lebanon BLOM Bank
Oman Ahli Bank
Palestine Bank of Palestine
Qatar Qatar National Bank
Saudi Arabia Samba Financial Group
United Arab Emirates National Bank of Abu Dhabi
Yemen Arab Bank Yemen
Algeria Arab Banking Corp Algeria
Angola Standard Bank Angola
Botswana Barclays Bank of Botswana
Burkina Faso United Bank for Africa (Burkina Faso)
Cameroon United Bank for Africa (Cameroon)
Côte d’Ivoire Standard Chartered Bank Côte d’Ivoire
DR Congo Trust Merchant Bank
Djibouti International Commercial Bank (Djibouti)
Ethiopia Commercial Bank of Ethiopia
Gambia Standard Chartered Bank Gambia
Ghana Ghana Commercial Bank
Guinea Ecobank Guinea Conakry
Kenya Barclays Bank of Kenya
Madagascar Bank of Africa-Madagascar
Mali Ecobank Mali
Mauritius Bramer Bank
Morocco Attijariwafa Bank
Mozambique Millennium bim
Namibia FNB Namibia
Nigeria First Bank of Nigeria
Rwanda I&M Bank (Rwanda)
Senegal United Bank for Africa (Senegal)
Sierra Leone Standard Chartered Bank Sierra Leone
South Africa Standard Bank
South Sudan Ivory Bank
Sudan Faisal Islamic Bank
Togo Ecobank Togo
Tunisia Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie
Uganda Stanbic Bank Uganda
Zambia Standard Chartered Bank Zambia
Zimbabwe Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe