Global Finance unveils its 25th annual listing of the best banks—globally, regionally and in 149 countries. Winners have outperformed their peers and shown the ability to adapt to rapidly changing conditions in the industry.

Author: Gordon Platt

DBS Bank, which took the title as Best Bank in the World in Global Finance’s World’s Best Banks 2018, is a bellwether in more ways than one: the first institution from either Singapore or Asia as a whole to receive the top honor, and distinguished in large part through its efforts to make banking simpler and more efficient through technology. Asia is home to the fastest-growing economies in the world, and DBS’s selection boldfaces the increasingly high profile of institutions in this region. At the same time, as more banks focus on tailoring their products, services, and—not least—customer service to suit client preferences, one common thread between DBS and other global winners was their ability to make their technology choices serve this agenda.

Winners in the World’s Best Banks Awards 2018 were selected based on performance over the past year as well as other criteria including reputation, management excellence, and leadership in digital transformation (see Methodology below). Banks that were singled out in the 14 global and seven regional categories expressed the goal of digitizing in order to improve the customer experience. And clearly, banks need to focus on how to to build business and preserve relationships in an online environment.

All the more so since the global banking industry faces serious challenges, including pressure on costs and a lingering overhang of bad loans in some regions, on top of the usual financial and operational risks. The health of the banking industry has improved greatly since the financial crisis of a decade ago. For the first time in four years, global bank upgrades outnumbered downgrades, 26-21, in the first half of this year, according to Fitch Ratings. Nonetheless, the state of the industry varies from region to region. Emerging markets in the Americas and the Middle East and Africa suffered most from downgrades in the first half of 2018, extending a recent trend of generally more negative ratings in the developing world, Fitch reports.

Many European institutions continue to be challenged as well. EU banks that were relatively more successful at protecting profits through the recent financial cycle exhibited a less pronounced deterioration in loan quality and a greater improvement in cost efficiency, according to a recent working paper from the International Monetary Fund. Another common denominator was that these banks downsized their assets more aggressively during the crisis and reduced reliance on wholesale funding more markedly afterward.

The US banking system, by contrast, appears healthy, riding what is the second longest economic expansion on record. The number of banks on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Problem Bank List fell by 10 to 82 in the second quarter of this year and 80% of all FDIC-insured banks reported higher revenue than a year earlier. Net income for the industry was $60.2 billion in the second quarter, up 25.1% from a year ago. A little more than half of the dollar increase in earnings was attributable to changes embodied in last year’s milestone Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Nevertheless, competition to attract loan customers “will be intense, and it will remain important for banks to maintain their underwriting discipline and credit standards,” FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams said recently. The size of US banks’ longer-term assets relative to total industry assets remains at a record high, with more than a third of industry assets maturing or repricing in three or more years. Some banks have responded to low interest rates by reaching for yield through longer-term investments, McWilliams noted. Others reduced on-balance-sheet liquidity to boost overall yields on earning assets and to maintain net interest margins, she added. A flattening yield curve, in conjunction with banks increasing their proportion of long-term assets, could become a headwind in the future, according to McWilliams.

Warning Signs Ahead

Low-cost deposits are becoming increasingly scarce, according to Novantas, which provides analytic advice and technology solutions to financial institutions. Mergers and acquisitions between banks in the past generally were aimed at expanding the branch network, leveraging the new branches as a way to organically acquire new customers. Today, by contrast, they are about eliminating competition and realizing operational and financial efficiencies. “M&A is about acquiring in market, consolidating a significant portion of branches, using cost synergies to invest in technology, marketing and other investments required to win with customers, and spreading those investment costs over a larger customer base,” according to a Novantas research report.

Banks need to work harder at retaining customers following an acquisition, the report concludes. Inactive checking customers are one of the most likely segments to jump ship after an acquisition, yet appropriate retention tactics can reduce attrition up to 50%, says Novantas. As a result, there has never been greater pressure and desire to reduce costs by consolidating branches in an acquisition. While the importance of the branch, expressed in both sales and customer services, is declining, branch closures still have a substantial impact on customer retention. Leaving ATMs in places where branches have been closed is one way to retain customers who deposit checks or withdraw cash but don’t need a teller, Novantas advises.

Technology breeds its own set of problems. While banks have developed sophisticated systems for controlling financial risk, they have struggled to deal effectively with operational risk—the risk of loss due to errors, breaches, interruptions or 

damages—according to a recent report by Bain & Company. “While automating processes once done by hand can reduce human operational risk, it can, if not monitored properly, magnify cybersecurity risk,” the report warns. Some leading banks have responded by leveraging big data analytics to supplement and sometime replace audits. “Using advanced analytics and machine learning, they leverage their tremendous trove of data to screen the entire bank’s operations continuously and automatically,” according to Bain. “The automated surveillance runs constantly in the background and flags managers when something looks unusual or suspicious.” Yet, the key to effective operational risk management, the report adds, is still training people to anticipate what could go wrong, especially when a business unit is about to do something new, such as launch a new product or service.

With its World’s Best Banks Awards, Global Finance recognizes the banks that are addressing some or all of these challenges most successfully while helping their clients get the most out of their assets. Along with the best bank in the world, the honorees include best global corporate bank, best global consumer bank, and the best banks worldwide for emerging markets, frontier markets, and derivatives: a category being announced here for the first time. Also included are previously announced honorees for sub-custodian bank, Islamic financial institution, investment bank, cash management bank, trade finance provider, supply chain finance provider, foreign exchange provider, and private bank.


GLOBAL WINNERS

BEST BANK IN THE WORLD

DBS Bank

To be named Best Bank in the World in today’s rapidly evolving financial services industry requires a special combination of safety and innovation. DBS Bank took the title on the strength of its digital transformation, strong financials, and good corporate citizenship.

Southeast Asia’s largest bank and most valuable company, DBS continues to win new customers by using its own technology to make banking simpler and more efficient. In private banking, DBS has leapfrogged the Swiss white-glove approach, taking the field into a digital future that fits the preferences of its regional clients. DBS’s hub is an iWealth platform that increased high-net-worth customers’ online trading by 75% last year and added 45% to assets under management. The trading platform is integrated with the bank’s pan-Asian brokerage operation.

DBS produced record earnings of $3.18 billion last year, with Singapore and Greater China (mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan) the outperforming markets. In 2017, it also successfully completed the integration of ANZ’s former retail and wealth franchise across Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, and Taiwan, adding more than 100,000 affluent customers. It also replicated the success of digibank by DBS, its online banking service, in India and Indonesia.

“As we seek to reimagine banking, we are gratified by the global recognition of our efforts,” says Piyush Gupta, CEO of DBS. “Receiving the Best Bank in the World Award is a great honor and shows once again that Singapore punches above its weight. It is a moment of pride that we are honored to share with all our customers, employees and shareholders.”

Piyush Gupta, CEO

www.dbs.com

Read: Q&A With DBS CEO 


BEST CORPORATE BANK

MUFG

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), Japan’s largest bank by assets ($2.7 trillion), is optimizing its sprawling structure to offer services as a single group. MUFG is also the Japanese bank with the greatest global reach, with 2,300 offices in more than 50 countries serving more than 500,000 corporate customers. It bills its Comsuite product as a user-friendly total solution for global transaction banking, with a focus on cash management and trade finance.

MUFG is striving to make the most productive use of capital in the face of tighter international financial regulations. This includes reviewing strategic investments by MUFG group companies. Japanese banks have been criticized for holding small stakes in corporate clients, which concentrates risk and interferes with good corporate governance. In April 2018, MUFG sold nearly half of its holding in Brazilian bank Bradesco for about $400 million.

Such moves appear to be paying off. MUFG recently posted its best fiscal first quarter (ended June 30) in seven years, thanks in part to the sale of equity interests and a decline in the provision for loan losses. Profit for the quarter rose 9% year over year to $2.9 billion. The bank now has $1 trillion of loans outstanding and benefits from higher net interest income from its growing portfolio of overseas loans.

It is also looking to technology to create new services for its corporate clients. Together with its Thai subsidiary, Bank of Ayudhya, MUFG is participating in a cross-border payment pilot test with Mitsubishi and Standard Chartered Bank over RippleNet, a new software that aims to make cross-border payments more convenient and efficient for corporations.

Nobuyuki Hirano, group CEO

www.mufg.jp


BEST CONSUMER BANK

CaixaBank

More than 90% of CaixaBank’s products and services are now available online. Its basic strategy is to combine personal customer research with data about customers’ Internet use to find better and easier ways for them to access typical products online. Intelligent application of technology has enabled it to simplify online banking and at the same time increase its leading position in the Spanish retail banking market. Not only does CaixaBank have the country’s largest number of online and mobile banking users, but its imaginBank is Spain’s first mobile-only bank, providing services exclusively through mobile applications and social networks.

CaixaBank takes an active role in encouraging the development of new banking technologies. It is a strategic partner in the Barcelona-based Payments Innovation Hub, which promotes joint development of innovative payment solutions and purchase experiences, including the use of digital wallets. It is also partnering with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center on advanced deep-learning systems with applications for financial innovation.

Gonzalo Gortazar, CEO

www.caixabank.es

Read: Q&A With CaixaBank's general manager


BEST EMERGING MARKETS BANK

CIB

Commercial International Bank (CIB) is the largest private sector bank in the fast-growing Egyptian market. It also invests aggressively in technology. In consumer banking, CIB has focused on the customer experience, automating processes and using data analytics to align products with key value segments. It is offering more products online and aims to increase its market share of key products. Payments using CIB Smart Wallet, a mobile payment service is available to both the banked and unbanked segments of the market, grew 184% last year. CIB also serves more than 40,000 business customers with loans, cash management, trade finance, and electronic solutions geared to help them grow and manage their businesses efficiently.

CIB is also working hard to promote Egypt’s economic development. It financed several major government projects last year, including two syndications backing the upgrade of Egypt’s national electricity grid. CIB has also built strategic alliances with government agencies on projects such as the Suez Canal Industrial Zone and the New Capital City project, both of which represent potential markets for its products and services.

Hisham Ezz Al-Arab, chairman and managing director

www.cibeg.com


BEST FRONTIER MARKETS BANK

Bank Muscat

When AbdulRazak Ali Issa steps down at the end of this year after two decades as CEO of Bank Muscat, he can look back at a financial institution that became Oman’s largest under his leadership, with $30 billion of assets, an international network, and that introduced modern banking technology to the sultanate. Succeeding him in January will be deputy CEO Sheikh Waleed Al Hashar.

“Bank Muscat understands that the future is centered on digital technology to chart the way forward for government institutions and corporates to do successful business,” Issa said earlier this year as he unveiled the bank’s new B2B Connect platform. This latest innovation enables corporates to carry out payment approvals in their ERP systems, the information flowing automatically to the bank for processing. This year, Bank Muscat began work on an integrated transaction banking platform for all of its key corporate banking products.

The bank has branches in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as well as representative offices in Dubai and Singapore. It also owns 49% of BMI Bank in Bahrain, 43% of Indian brokerage Mangal Keshav, 97% of Muscat Capital in Saudi Arabia, and a stake in Silkbank in Pakistan.

AbdulRazak Ali Issa, CEO

www.bankmuscat.com


BEST DERIVATIVES BANK

Société Générale

Giving clients options in the midst of dramatic policy shifts and divergences is how Sociéte Générale stays on top as a full-service derivatives provider, says Antoine Jacquemin, global head of Market Risk Advisory and deputy head of Western Europe Corporate Sales (FX and Rates) at Sociéte Générale Corporate and Investment Bank. Its skills received a workout in 2017, thanks to central banks’ divergence on monetary policy

“The Federal Reserve hiked and progressively normalized its policy, while the European Central Bank remained on hold,” says Jacquemin. “Long-term US dollar rates have headed higher since mid-2016 lows. We have assisted clients in adjusting their policy and rebalancing their fixed versus floating debt mix through interest-rate swaps.”

Earlier this year, Global Finance’s Best Investment Bank Awards named Sociéte Générale the Best Bank for Equity Derivatives and Best Bank for Interest-Rate Derivatives.

Antoine Jacquemin, global head of Market Risk Advisory

www.societegenerale.com


BEST SUB-CUSTODIAN BANK

Standard Chartered Bank

Standard Chartered Bank, whose umbrella covers an extensive emerging markets network in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, has enjoyed rapid growth in assets under custody of late. It is a major participant in China’s Bond Connect, which gives foreign investors access to China’s interbank bond market. In India, where Standard Chartered is the sole custodian for the country’s largest public social security fund, assets under custody rose 47% last year. In Bangladesh, where its custody assets grew by a dramatic 79% in 2017, it is the only custodian with a stock-exchange clearing capability.

“We are now in the second year of our five-year ‘SS2.0’ journey, and the results have been fantastic,” says Margaret Harwood-Jones, global head of securities services at Standard Chartered. “We are on track to double the size of our business by the end of 2021. This is a reflection of our clients’ belief in our strategy and in the development road map that backs it up.”

Margaret Harwood-Jones, global head of securities services

www.cibeg.com


BEST ISLAMIC FINANCIAL INSTITUTION

Maybank Islamic

Malaysia’s Maybank Islamic has long been one of the leading Islamic financial institutions globally and, on many occasions, a first mover in bringing innovative shariah-compliant financial products to market. It has a highly regarded management in place and a clear strategic vision of its role in the shariah financing and investment arena. It is clearly dominant in the Asian market but also very active in the wider Islamic space. Globally, it is the fifth largest Islamic bank, with assets exceeding $45 billion.

Maybank Islamic earned the Best Islamic Financial Institution distinction on account of its strong financial performance in 2017, which included significant gains in market share in various areas, such as global sukuk and shariah-compliant short-term investments. Its most recent Islamic financial innovation is HouzKEY, designed to provide an alternative solution for home ownership through a program that requires only three months’ rental deposit. Customers are given the option to purchase a property after renting it for at least one year at an agreed-upon price. HouzKEY is the first such rent-to-own homeownership plan in Malaysia to be fully enabled on a digital platform.

Mohamed Rafique Merican, CEO

www.maybank.com


BEST INVESTMENT BANK

J.P. Morgan

J.P. Morgan not only has the largest overall revenue share in global investment banking, but in 2017 the firm completed more than $47 billion worth of transactions with value of $1 billion or less, making it the busiest investment bank in the mid-market as well, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

It has been a leader in debt origination, beginning with its purchase of Bear Stearns at the peak of the global financial crisis a decade ago, which helped it consolidate market share. J.P. Morgan saw a more than 15% rise in fees collected in 2017, with bonds leading the pack, followed by mergers and acquisitions, equity, and loans.

Notable 2017 deals in which J.P. Morgan participated include Micro Focus’s acquisition and financing of Hewlett Packard Enterprises’s software business. The firm was lead financial advisor to Micro Focus and sole underwriter for approximately $5.5 billion in financing. Also last year, J.P. Morgan acted as a financial advisor to Rockwell Collins when United Technologies acquired the company for $30 billion in what was described as the second-largest aerospace and defense transaction and eighth-largest industrial deal ever in North America. The bank was also active across emerging market debt.

Max Neukirchen, head of strategy

www.jpmorgan.com


BEST CASH MANAGEMENT BANK

Citi

Citi is, in effect, not just a bank but a technology company investing millions in treasury and trade solutions every year. The breadth and depth of its product offerings for treasury and cash management means its solutions are often white-labeled by other banks. Citi embraced the new world of open banking and application programming interfaces with its launch last year of CitiConnect API, which aims to transform the way treasury and cash management services are consumed and delivered. For example, CitiConnect API enabled treasury software provider FIS to easily integrate its Trax corporate payments factory with Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions, enabling treasurers to exercise enhanced real-time management of their transaction flows.

Naveed Sultan, global head of Treasury and Trade Solutions

www.citi.com


BEST TRADE FINANCE BANK

BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas maintains more than 100 trade centers around the world, staffed with experts in trade finance handling 14 million trade transactions annually. The bank provides advice and operational capabilities to more than 40,000 corporate clients in a wide range of industries,  helping them implement strategies to optimize working capital. Its trade finance solutions include structured trade and supply-chain management as well as Web-based platforms.

BNP Paribas also provides databases and services to help corporate clients search internationally for trade partners. It offers integrated solutions under its One Bank for Corporates offering, with a single point of contact.

Marguerite Burghardt, head of the Trade Finance Compliance Centre

www.cib.bnpparibas.com


BEST SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCE BANK

Standard Chartered Bank

With its “banking the ecosystem” approach, Standard Chartered stands out from other providers that typically bank only large creditworthy borrowers, excluding lower-tier suppliers, vendors, and distributors that are more often in need of affordable working capital. Standard Chartered connects buyers, suppliers, and the companies they do business with, integrating financial, informational, and physical flows and leveraging the capabilities of its corporate and institutional, commercial, and business banking units. Standard Chartered’s supplier-finance solutions encompass receivables, vendor prepay, payables financing, and preshipment finance.

Francesco Miccoli, head of transaction banking for Europe

www.sc.com


BEST FOREIGN EXCHANGE BANK

Citi

One of the main global banks serving large multinational corporations, Citi trades more than 140 currencies from foreign exchange desks in 83 countries and has the broadest range of clients of any FX bank. Its CitiFX Pulse platform enables corporations to track cash flow and balance-sheet exposure throughout their worldwide subsidiaries. It includes pre-trade market information including news, research, and risk-management tools and provides local expertise extending through the post-trade settlement process. Citi’s in-house systems help manage the documentation required for FX transactions in many emerging markets.

Nadir Mahmud, global head of foreign exchange

www.citifx.com


BEST PRIVATE BANK

UBS

Repeat champion UBS has doubled down on wealth management as a core business over the past five years while integrating it with the capabilities of a global investment bank and brokerage to attract the rising breed of activist rich. While rivals juggle strategies to find a winning geographic or market niche, the Zurich-based powerhouse has stayed on a steady but measured global offensive, adding 100 bankers in Hong Kong and buying out a swathe of Latin American operations from HSBC, to cite two moves in just the last year. UBS has pursued a broader approach than its rivals, however. While some devote themselves solely to super-rich clients above $10 million or even $25 million in assets, UBS has remained open to the traditional universe starting at $1 million. UBS also invests heavily in technology through its in-house Innovation Lab.

Martin Blessing and Tom Naratil, co-presidents, global wealth management

www.cibeg.com


REGIONAL WINNERS

BEST BANK IN NORTH AMERICA

Bank of America

Earnings for banks across North America have enjoyed a strong boost this year thanks to rising interest rates. Bank of America received an additional lift from higher trading revenue and a big US tax cut, reporting a 33% rise in second-quarter 2018 profit to $6.8 billion.

“Solid operating leverage and client activity drove earnings higher this quarter,” Brian Moynihan, chairman and CEO, said. “We grew consumer and commercial loans; we grew deposits; we grew assets within our Merrill Edge business; we generated more net new households in Merrill Lynch; and we supported more institutional client activity. The bank also continued to invest in its businesses and began an additional $500 million technology investment, which it intends to spend over the next several quarters on the strength of the benefits it received from the 2017 tax bill. The bank also plans to return $26 billion to shareholders through common dividends and share repurchases ove the next 12 months.

Brian Moynihan, chairman and CEO

www.bankofamerica.com


BEST BANK IN WESTERN EUROPE

ING

Netherlands-based ING leads the way in Western Europe, combining a customer-centric approach with well-thought-out applications of new technologies. Add to that the concrete steps it has taken to promote a more sustainable, low-carbon economy, and ING repeats as our regional winner.

“Innovation is changing banking at lightning speed,” observes group CEO Ralph Hamers. One such is blockchain, with its potential to make banking simpler, safer, faster, and more competitively priced, and which ING has embraced. “Blockchain is a priority for ING, [which has been] creating blockchain code that’s nearly 10 times more efficient in ensuring privacy and using it to create digital platforms for agricultural and energy commodity trades, the latter through a venture with other partners.”

As this suggests, Hamers sees combining in-house innovation with strategic partnerships as the best way to improve the customer experience. “ING’s strategy is built around empowerment and the promise to customers to make banking clear and easy, available anytime and anywhere, and to keep getting better,” he says.

Ralph Hamers, group CEO

www.ing.com


BEST BANK IN CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE

Raiffeisen Bank International

Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), our CEE regional winner, is active in more countries across the region than any other bank. RBI almost doubled its earnings in 2017, even though net interest income remained flat. Most of the gains came from increased fee and commission income as well as a marked improvement in asset quality. “RBI went through a comprehensive transformation program and optimized its group structure, increased transparency and profitability, reduced complexity, improved its asset quality, and strengthened its capital ratios,” says CEO Johann Strobl. “This allows the bank to focus on its core task: serving the customer.”

RBI’s sharply higher numbers last year came in spite of the difficult conditions facing institutions in its region. “Banks are challenged by the low-interest-rate environment of the euro area and, in some Central European markets, by ever-increasing regulatory requirements and, to some extent, political risks,” says Strobl. RBI beat analysts’ expectations in the second quarter of this year, thanks in part to a large release of loan-loss provisions. Net profit in the three months ended in June fell 2.9% to $414 million, however, reflecting a one-time hit from the previously announced sale of its Polish unit, Raiffeisen Bank Polska.

Johann Strobl, chairman and CEO

www.rbinternational.com


BEST BANK IN LATIN AMERICA

Santander

Santander’s Latin American operations serve more than 44 million customers through more than 6,000 branches in six markets and remain a key driver of the Spanish group’s growth, contributing 51% of its total income. “Santander operates as a local bank in the markets where it is present, which means we have an in-depth knowledge of the needs of our clients in each country,” says Enrique Alvarez, the bank’s head of strategy, adding that its local banks still deliver the advantages of being part of a “strong, international group bringing innovation, technology, and best-in-class products and services.”

They are also a source of innovation, says Alvarez. “Take as an example WorkCafés in Chile [outposts that combine bank, coffee-shop and advisory services in a co-working space], a revolution of the branch concept that makes customers want to come to the bank, or Superdigital in Brazil, a mobile platform for making deposits, withdrawals, and payments even if you do not have a bank account, providing new products and services to the unbanked population.”

José Antonio Alvarez, group CEO

www.santander.com


BEST BANK IN ASIA-PACIFIC

DBS Bank

Singapore-based DBS Bank also has a growing presence in Greater China, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. The bank’s record year in 2017 was underpinned by strong growth across multiple businesses. Indeed, DBS is a strong example of a bank that has embraced a digital future that fits well with its tech-savvy regional clientele.

DBS is not neglecting growth through acquisitions either. After its digestion of ANZ’s retail and wealth franchises in the region, its wealth management segment achieved income growth of 25% last year, according to CEO Piyush Gupta, while its business with small and medium-sized companies drove 11% growth in this segment.

“We are acquiring more customers and deepening existing relationships,” Gupta says, while pointing to Singapore and Greater China as the top-performing regional markets. “Despite our dominance in Singapore, we continued to gain market share in areas such as mortgages and credit cards. Hong Kong also turned in a strong performance with its ability to capture outbound China flows.”

Piyush Gupta, CEO

www.dbs.com

Read: Q&A With DBS CEO 


BEST BANK IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Arab Bank

Amman, Jordan-based Arab Bank has the most extensive banking network in the Arab world, with more than 600 branches in 28 countries. Its historical presence and deep understanding of the region, conservative risk appetite, and diversified income streams have all contributed to healthy profitability in recent years, and recognition as the bets bank in its region. While last year’s earnings of $533 million were up only slightly from the year before, group net profit, excluding the effect of the devaluation of a number of Arab and foreign currencies, grew by 8%.

Arab Bank has maintained its policy of minimum reserve coverage of 100%, with no increase in nonperforming loans last year. The bank is well capitalized, with a capital adequacy ratio of 15.3% at the end of 2017. While Arab Bank has a dominant presence in its home market, it receives 72% of its revenue from outside Jordan. The bank is a gateway to Middle East markets for multinational companies and supports local companies operating in other parts of the world as well.

Nemeh Sabbagh, CEO

www.arabbank.com


BEST BANK IN AFRICA

Standard Bank

We chose Standard Bank as our regional winner in Africa based on its strong financial performance amidst challenging conditions and its impressive international capabilities. South Africa-based Standard Bank is the continent’s largest lender by assets, maintaining a presence in 20 countries. It raised more than $7 billion of debt for African clients, including corporations, from global markets in 2017. Markets outside South Africa increased their contribution to group earnings to 28% from 26% a year earlier. Overall, the bank’s earnings rose 14% in 2017.

“The group’s strong results were achieved by executing our established strategy in a disciplined way, with good cost and credit management in a noisy operating environment,” says Sim Tshabalala, group CEO of Standard Bank. “The group also continued to benefit from our diversified portfolio of businesses in Africa.”

Sim Tshabalala, group CEO

www.standardbank.com


Methodology

Global Finance editors, with input from industry analysts, corporate executives, and technology experts, selected the winners for the World’s Best Banks 2018 based on submissions provided by banks 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 an entry can provide details that may not be readily available to the editors of Global Finance.

Judgments were based on performance over the period from January 1 to December 31, 2017. We applied an algorithm to shorten the list of contenders and arrive 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 narrowed the field, our final criteria included 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 and providers that best serve the specialized needs of corporations as they engage in global business. They are not always the biggest institutions, but rather the best: those with qualities that companies should look for when choosing a provider.

GLOBAL FINANCE WORLD'S BEST BANKS 2018

Global Winners
Bank
Best Bank in the World DBS Bank
Best Corporate Bank MUFG
Best Consumer Bank CaixaBank
Best Emerging Markets Bank CIB
Best Frontier Markets Bank Bank Muscat
Best Derivatives Bank Societe Generale
Best Sub-custodian Bank Standard Chartered Bank
Best Islamic Finance Institution Maybank Islamic
Best Investment Bank J.P. Morgan
Best Cash Management Bank Citi
Best Trade Finance Bank BNP Paribas
Best Supply Chain Finance Bank Standard Chartered Bank
Best Foreign Exchange Bank Citi
Best Private Bank UBS
Regional Winners
 
North America Bank of America
Latin America Santander
Western Europe ING
Central & Eastern Europe Raiffeisen Bank International
Asia-Pacific DBS Bank
Middle East Arab Bank
Africa Standard Bank
BEST BANKS IN NORTH AMERICA 2018  
Country
Bank
Bermuda Butterfield Bank
Canada Royal Bank of Canada
United States Citi
BEST BANKS IN LATIN AMERICA 2018  
Country
Bank
Argentina Banco Santander Rio
Bahamas Scotiabank Bahamas
Barbados Scotiabank Barbados
Belize Belize Bank
Bolivia Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz
Brazil Bradesco
Chile Banco de Chile
Colombia Banco de Bogotá
Costa Rica BAC Banco San José
Dominican Republic Banco Reservas de la Republica Dominica
Ecuadro Produbanco
El Salvador Banco Agricola
Guatemala Banco Agromercantil
Honduras Banco Ficohsa
Jamaica National Commercial Bank of Jamaica
Mexico BBVA Bancomer
Nicaragua Banco LAFISE Bancentro
Panama Banco General
Paraguay BBVA General
Peru Banco de Crédito del Perú
Puerto Rico Banco Popular de Puerto Rico
Trinidad & Tobago Republic Bank
Turks & Caicos Scotiabank Turks & Caicos
Uruguary Bandes Uruguay
U.S. Virgin Islands Firstabank Virgin Islands
Venezuela Mercantil Banco Universal
BEST BANKS IN WESTERN EUROPE 2018  
Country
Bank
Andorra Mora Banc
Austria BAWAG Group
Belgium BNP Paribas
Cyprus Hellenic Bank
Denmark Nordea Bank
Finland OP Financial Group
France BPCE
Germany Commerzbank
Greece Eurobank Ergasias
Iceland Landsbankin
Ireland Bank of Ireland
Italy Intesa Sanpaolo
Liechtenstein Liechtensteinische
Luxembourg Banque Internationale a Luxembourg
Malta Bank of Valletta
Monaco CFM Indosuez Wealth
Netherlands ABN Amro Bank
Norway Nordea Bank
Portugal Banco Santander Totta
Spain CaixaBank
Sweden Swedbank
Switzerland UBS
UK Lloyds Bank

BEST BANKS IN CENTRAL

AND EASTERN EUROPE 2018

 
Country
Bank
Albania Societe Generale Albania
Belarus Belarusbank
Bosnia & Hercegovina Raiffeisen Bank dd Bosna i Hercegovina
Bulgaria UniCredit Bulbank
Croatia Privredna banka Zagreb
Czech Republic SCOB
Estonia Swedbank Estonia
Georgia TBC Bank
Hungary OTP Bank
Kosovo TEB
Latvia SERB banka Latvia
Lithuania SEB Lithuania
Macedonia Ohridska Banka Societe General
Moldova Moldova Agroindbank
Poland Alio Bank
Russia Credit Bank of Moscow
Serbia Banca Intesa Beograd
Slovakia Tatra banka
Slovenia NLB Group
Turkey Akbank
Ukraine Raiffeisen Bank Aval

BEST BANKS IN ASIA-PACIFIC 2018

 
Country
Bank
Afghanistan Azizi Bank
Armenia Ardshin Bank
Australia Westpac
Azerbaijan PASHA Bank
Brunei Darussalam BIBD
Cambodia ABA Bank
China China Construction Bank
Hong Kong The Bank Of East Asia
India State Bank Of India
Indonesia Bank Rakyat Indonesia
Japan MUFG
Kazakhstan Forte Bank
Kyrgyzstan Demir Kyrgyz International Bank
Macau OCBC Wing Hang
Malaysia Maybank
Mongolia XacBank
Myanmar CB Bank
Nepal Siddartha Bank
New Zealand ASB Bank
Pakistan Habib Bank
Philippines Security Bank
Malaysia Maybank
Mongolia XacBank
Myanmar CB Bank
Nepal Siddartha Bank
New Zealand ASB Bank
Pakistan Habib Bank
Philippines Security Bank
Singapore OCBC
South Korea Shinhan Bank
Sri Lanka National Development Bank Sri Lanka
Taiwan Cathay United
Tajikistan Orienbank
Thailand Bangkok Bank
Uzbekistan Asia Alliance Bank
Vietnam Saigon Hanoi Bank

BEST BANKS IN ASIA-PACIFIC 2018

 
Country
Bank
Afghanistan Azizi Bank
Armenia Ardshin Bank
Australia Westpac
Azerbaijan PASHA Bank
Brunei Darussalam BIBD
Cambodia ABA Bank
China China Construction Bank
Hong Kong The Bank Of East Asia
India State Bank Of India
Indonesia Bank Rakyat Indonesia
Japan MUFG
Kazakhstan Forte Bank
Kyrgyzstan Demir Kyrgyz International Bank
Macau OCBC Wing Hang
Malaysia Maybank
Mongolia XacBank
Myanmar CB Bank
Nepal Siddartha Bank
New Zealand ASB Bank
Pakistan Habib Bank
Philippines Security Bank
Malaysia Maybank
Mongolia XacBank
Myanmar CB Bank
Nepal Siddartha Bank
New Zealand ASB Bank
Pakistan Habib Bank
Philippines Security Bank
Singapore OCBC
South Korea Shinhan Bank
Sri Lanka National Development Bank Sri Lanka
Taiwan Cathay United
Tajikistan Orienbank
Thailand Bangkok Bank
Uzbekistan Asia Alliance Bank
Vietnam Saigon Hanoi Bank

BEST BANKS IN ASIA-PACIFIC 2018

 
Country
Bank
Afghanistan Azizi Bank
Armenia Ardshin Bank
Australia Westpac
Azerbaijan PASHA Bank
Brunei Darussalam BIBD
Cambodia ABA Bank
China China Construction Bank
Hong Kong The Bank Of East Asia
India State Bank Of India
Indonesia Bank Rakyat Indonesia
Japan MUFG
Kazakhstan Forte Bank
Kyrgyzstan Demir Kyrgyz International Bank
Macau OCBC Wing Hang
Malaysia Maybank
Mongolia XacBank
Myanmar CB Bank
Nepal Siddartha Bank
New Zealand ASB Bank
Pakistan Habib Bank
Philippines Security Bank
Malaysia Maybank
Mongolia XacBank
Myanmar CB Bank
Nepal Siddartha Bank
New Zealand ASB Bank
Pakistan Habib Bank
Philippines Security Bank
Singapore OCBC
South Korea Shinhan Bank
Sri Lanka National Development Bank Sri Lanka
Taiwan Cathay United
Tajikistan Orienbank
Thailand Bangkok Bank
Uzbekistan Asia Alliance Bank
Vietnam Saigon Hanoi Bank

BEST BANKS IN THE MIDDLE EAST 2018

 
Country
Bank
Bahrain Ahli United Bank
Egypt Egypt Commercial Bank
Iraq Trade Bank of Iraq
Israel Bank Hapoalim
Jordan Arab Bank
Kuwait National Bank of Kuwait
Lebanon Bank Audi
Oman Bank Muscat
Palestine Bank of Palestine
Qatar Commercial Bank of Qatar
Saudi Arabia Samba Financial Group
United Arab Emirates First Abu Dhabi Bank
Yemen Arab Bank Yemen

BEST BANKS IN AFRICA 2018

 
Country
Bank
Algeria Societe Generale Algeria
Angola Banco de Fomento Angola (BFA)
Benin Societe Generale Benin
Botswana Stanbic Bank Botswana
Burkina Faso Ecobank Burkina Faso
Cameroon Afriland First Bank
Côte d’Ivoire SGBCI
DR Congo Rawbank
Djibouti BCIMR
Ethiopia Commercial Bank of Ethiopia
Gambia Ecobank Gambia
Ghana Zenith Bank Ghana
Guinea Société Générale de Banques en Guinée
Kenya Equity Bank
Madagascar Bank of Africa Madagascar
Malawi National Bank of Malawi
Mali Bank of Africa
Maurities Standard Bank of Maurities
Morocco Attijariwafa Bank
Mozambique Millennium bim
Namibia First National Bank of Namibia
Nigeria First Bank of Nigeria
Rwanda I&M Bank Rwanda
Senegal Societe Generale de Banques au Senegal
Sierra Leone Zenith Bank
South Africa Standard Bank
Tanzania CRDB Bank
Togo Ecobank Togo
Tunisia Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie
Uganada Stanbic Bank Uganda
Zambia Barclays Bank Zambia
Zimbabwe CBZ Bank