Global Finance Honors a Japanese powerhouse and a Spanish superstar as Top Of Class for 2015.       

Author: Gordon Platt
Project Coordinator: S.J. Yun


Following the 2008 financial crisis, European banks slowed cross-border lending to developing and emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific region. The resulting gap was filled by banks from Asian countries, particularly Japan and China.

For the first time, Global Finance has chosen an Asian bank as the Best Global Corporate Bank. Way back in the early 1980s, before our awards started, Japanese banks dominated global finance. More recently, Chinese banks have become global powerhouses. This year’s winner (Mitsubishi-UFJ Financial Group)has been immensly successful in global markets in part through a powerful  alliance with a major US investment bank.

Meanwhile, the technology of global consumer banking is changing rapidly, expanding to new delivery channels, especially mobile. This year’s Best Global Consumer Bank (BBVA) is pushing the envelope to redefine the customer experience.

Both winners have attended carefully to their customers’ needs in difficult markets, innovated and laid the groundwork for continued success.

The editorial board of Global Finance made its selections after extensive consultation with corporate financial executives, bankers and analysts around the world. Banks were invited to submit entries supporting their selection. Objective criteria included asset growth, profitability, geographic reach, strategic relationships, new business development and product innovation. Subjective criteria included opinions culled from equity and credit rating analysts, banking consultants and others.

Global Finance winners are tops at targeting  the markets they serve. They’ve weathered a volatile few years and are ready to face down disruptive technology and grow their business.


Mitsubishi UFJ Financial

Japan’s largest bank and the world’s second bank holding in terms of market cap, with $2.5 trillion in assets, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial spans 40 countries. Its 2008 aquisition of 21% of Morgan Stanley gives it unusual global heft. Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley was the top financial adviser in 2014 for Japan-related mergers and acquisitions, according to Dealogic., with  corporate and investment banking products ranging from samurai loans (yen-denominated cross border syndicated loans for non-Japanese borrowers) to acquisition finance, ship finance and asset-based lending.

Last year, MUFG integrated the US operations of its Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU) unit with its San Francisco‒based Union Bank to create MUFG Union Bank, one of the largest foreign banks in North America. BTMU has worked in Latin America for nearly a century. Its London headquarters run 46 offices in 20 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

It has a long and short-term focus on business development based on attention to changing customer needs, challenging the competition and boosting productivity.

~ Nobiyuki Hirano, president and CEO





BBVA, a Spanish bank with $750 billion in assets, has a large global footprint and a leadership position the tech-driven transformation of financial services. This year, BBVA bought Spring Studio, a San Francisco‒based user-experience and design firm, to help meet its goal of becoming the world’s best digital bank as well as a fully-fedged software company in its own right.

Through its North American subsidiary, BBVA Compass, it has a major presence in the US Sunbelt, with 672 branches in seven states, where it recently introduced a new mobile-banking app with increased functionality and easier navigation. It also operates in Latin America, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.

BBVA had 4.3 million mobile customers at the end of 2014. It has invested heavily in a cutting-edge technologiy retail platform to develop a new generation of services to compete with start-ups and tech giants like Apple, Google and Amazon. BBVA has 450 people working on BBVA Wallet, a popular app for mobile payments. BBVA Ventures, its private equity subsidiary, participated in Coinbase’s most recent $75 million funding round. 

~ Francisco González, chairman and CEO


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