Global Finance presents its 27th annual listing of the best banks globally, regionally and in more than 150 countries. This year’s winners are hoping their investment in new technology helps them weather the Covid-19 crisis.
When the novel coronavirus spread worldwide earlier this year, the global banking system was generally well capitalized and in good fundamental health. Financial institutions responded quickly and continued to provide services with minimal interruption. In many cases, banks went beyond what was required of them to extend payment deadlines and distribute financial aid on behalf of governments.
The editors of Global Finance, with input from industry analysts, corporate executives and technology experts, selected the winners for the World’s Best Banks 2020 using information provided by banks and other providers as well as independent research, based on a series of objective and subjective factors.
It isn’t 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 present details that may not be readily available to the editors.
Judgments were based on performance over the period from January 1 to December 31, 2019, except for global winners, for whom developments in the first half of 2020 were also factored in. We apply a proprietary algorithm to shorten the list of contenders and arrive at a numerical score, with 100 signifying perfection. The algorithm weights a range of criteria for relative importance, 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.
Once we narrow the field, our final criteria include scope of global coverage, size and experience of staff, customer service, risk management, range of products and services, execution skills and 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 private sector banks over government-owned institutions.
The winners are those banks and providers that best serve the specialized needs of corporations engaged in global business. We seek to honor not the biggest institutions but the best: those with qualities companies should look for when choosing a provider.
DBS Bank, which takes the top honor in Global Finance’s World’s Best Banks 2020 awards, was exemplary in this respect; it was ready for the sharp rise in demand for digital banking services during the pandemic. Over the past decade, the Singapore-based institution has invested heavily in all things digital and created an inclusive and efficient banking culture. Those investments are paying off at a time of economic uncertainty and increased credit risks, strengthening the bank’s resilience and helping it step up at a time of heightened customer need.
DBS and other winners of the World’s Best Banks 2020 awards were selected based on performance over the past year and other criteria, including their reputation, management excellence and leadership in digital transformation and social responsiveness. In the early days of the virus, DBS stepped up by quickly rolling out an app that enables business customers to submit trade documents without visiting a branch. Liquidity remained ample as DBS benefited from flight-to-quality inflows, and the bank actively participated in the Singapore government’s credit-relief programs.
DBS will face many of the same headwinds over the coming months as do other institutions in every part of the world. Interest rates remain low or even negative, depressing interest income; and government aid programs are beginning to expire. Rating agencies have unanimously turned negative on the banking industry since the onset of the pandemic; the proportion of Negative Outlook and Rating Watch Negative pronouncements from Fitch Ratings shot up to over 60% at the end of the first half of 2020 from 13% at the end of last year. Fitch assigned virtually no assessments of Positive Outlook or Rating Watch Positive.
The outlook is bleakest in Latin America, Fitch finds, in part reflecting lower sovereign ratings in the region. Somewhat brighter skies prevail in the emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe and the Asia-Pacific, where banks receive more government and institutional support.
“Despite the negative outlook bias on bank ratings,” says Emmanuel Volland, global financial institutions sector lead and senior editor at S&P Global Ratings, in an agency statement, “strengthened balance sheets, massive support from authorities to household and corporate markets, and our base case of a sustained economic recovery will limit bank downgrades this year.” “Central banks’ responses are positive for funding but pressure banks’ interest margins,” he warns. “What’s more, repercussions from the pandemic will likely accelerate bank digitization, trigger another round of restructuring, and push consolidation.”
The full extent of credit losses “will become clearer when fiscal support from governments unwinds and banks end their loan repayment moratoriums,” S&P Global Ratings says. More so than in any other region in Europe, Banks in the UK are bulking up reserves for loan losses at an alarming rate, more than those in any other European region, suggesting a weakening economy could be on the horizon for the country, Fitch said.
In the US, banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) reported lower earnings and strong loan growth in the first quarter of 2020.
“The banking industry has been a source of strength for the economy in the first quarter despite unexpected shocks,” says Jelena McWilliams, FDIC chair, in an agency statement. “Although bank earnings were negatively affected by increases in loan loss provisions, banks effectively supported individuals and businesses during this downturn through lending and other critical financial services.”
First-quarter net income at the 5,116 FDIC-insured institutions declined 69.6% from the same period a year earlier, to $18.5 billion. Bank capital and liquidity levels remained strong, and asset quality was stable. The number of banks on the FDIC’s problem bank list rose to 54 from 51, the first quarterly increase since 2011.
With the World’s Best Banks awards, Global Finance recognizes institutions that are doing the most to help their clients successfully navigate a world in flux while getting the most out of their resources. Along with the Best Bank in the World, global honors include Best Corporate Bank; Best Consumer Bank; best banks worldwide in emerging and frontier markets, and in derivatives; Best Bank for Sustainable Finance; Best SME Bank; and Best Transaction Bank; along with the Best Subcustodian Bank. All are being announced here for the first time. Previously announced honors include Best Islamic Financial Institution, Best Investment Bank, Best Cash Management Bank, Best Trade Finance Provider, Best Supply Chain Finance Provider, Best Foreign Exchange Provider and Best Private Bank.
BEST BANK IN THE WORLD
The largest bank in Southeast Asia, DBS is Global Finance’s 2020 Best Bank in the World. Establishing a core competence in technology, DBS has taken the lead in the digital transformation that is reshaping the world of banking and finance. The Covid-19 pandemic has made clear the pivotal role technology will play going forward, giving DBS an important competitive advantage.
DBS has taken savings from its earlier technological advances and reinvested them in more technology. The aim is to make banking all but seamless so corporations can concentrate on what they do best: running a business.
In the difficult operating environment of the first half of 2020, DBS’ profit before allowances rose 12% from the same period a year earlier to a record $3.5 billion. However, it raised total allowances fivefold to fortify the balance sheet against risks arising from the pandemic, pushing headline earnings down 26%.
“The strong operating performance we reported amidst severe macroeconomic headwinds in the first half attests to the resilience of our franchise,” says CEO Piyush Gupta. “Our solid balance sheet was further fortified by the significant increase in allowance reserves, strong liquidity inflows and healthy earnings. Notwithstanding the uncertainties, we are in a good position to continue supporting customers and the community through the difficult months ahead of us.”
—Piyush Gupta, CEO
BEST CORPORATE BANK
Citi takes the honor as 2020 Best Corporate Bank globally. Revenue from fixed-income markets and investment banking helped offset the effects of a decline in global consumer banking revenues so far this year. However, the bank’s second-quarter earnings of $1.3 billion were down 73% from a year earlier due to a higher allowance for credit loss reserves related to the pandemic recession. Revenues rose 5%, with markets and securities revenue up 48% to $6.9 billion.
“The Institutional Clients Group [fixed-income trading and investment banking] had an exceptional quarter, marked by an increase in fixed income of 68%,” says Michael Corbat, CEO. “Global consumer banking revenues were down, as spending slowed significantly due to the pandemic.”
Citi’s strength in transaction banking, foreign exchange and payment services combines with its cover-the-world network to make it a lifesaver for companies doing business globally. Citi united its corporate and investment banking teams with its capital markets teams two years ago, and the move is producing results. The result is a truly global universal bank with a solid corporate and investment banking franchise.
—Michael Corbat, CEO
BEST CONSUMER BANK
The primary institution for nearly a quarter of all Spaniards, CaixaBank is 2020 Best Consumer Bank globally. Thanks in part to innovations like imaginBank, Spain’s first mobile-only bank, it has achieved a 30% market penetration among digital clients. CaixaBank continued to gain market share across key segments last year, including mutual funds and savings, which saw assets under management grow 6.3%; and pension plans, which posted 14.7% growth.
Loans and deposits climbed 4.7% in 2019, and proactive management helped reduce nonperforming loans (NPLs); CaixaBank’s NPL ratio fell more than a full percentage point to 3.6%. Underlying group earnings climbed 20.4%, with a 10.8% return on equity. After adjusting for a labor agreement, however, the bank’s net profit came in 14% lower than a year earlier.
Commenting on the results, CEO Gonzalo Gortázar highlighted the bank’s “digital transformation, with improvement in internal processes and in digital channels to accompany the clients whenever and wherever they are,” alongside the “strengthening of our capital and liquidity position.”
CaixaBank’s net profit in the first half of 2020 fell 67% from the same period a year earlier as loan-loss charges increased to cover the future economic impact of the pandemic and the economic shutdown, which have hit Spain hard. The bank has continued to lend to businesses and individuals and continues to support those sectors most affected by the crisis.
—Gonzalo Gortázar, CEO
BEST EMERGING MARKETS BANK
Commercial International Bank (CIB), 2020 Best Emerging Markets Bank, is leading the digital banking transformation in Egypt, using technological innovation to drive financial inclusion. Seeing strong potential in Sub-Saharan Africa, CIB acquired a majority stake in what is now Mayfair CIB Bank in Kenya this year. Eastern Africa is an important market for CIB, acting as a bridge for trade between Egypt and Sub-Saharan Africa. Trade agreements, such as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), make member countries more-attractive trading partners for an institution aiming to expand geographically.
“CIB’s expertise and local coverage make us the right financial partner for companies looking to grow their businesses across Africa,” says Hisham Ezz Al-Arab, chairman and managing director. “CIB is Egypt’s banking leader for consumers, SMEs [small to mid-size enterprises] and large institutional corporations needing channels to grow Egyptian exports.”
—Hisham Ezz Al-Arab, chairman and managing director
BEST FRONTIER MARKETS BANK
Arab Bank, 2020 Best Frontier Markets Bank as well as Best Bank in the Middle East, has played an important role in improving the economies and communities in which it operates, including its home market of Jordan. Last year marked the 10th anniversary of Together, Arab Bank’s corporate social responsibility program, which has helped more than 1.25 million people across Jordan with the support of the bank’s employees and customers. Arab Bank also supports and finances strategic projects in the region that develop the economic capacity of the Arab world.
The bank recently introduced contactless technology across a wide group of ATMs in Jordan in an effort to increase safety and convenience during the pandemic. It is also continuing to improve its comprehensive digital banking services. The bank also has developed a code of conduct requiring suppliers to conduct their business in alignment with its ethical standards; included are clauses relating to employment, health and safety, and environmental standards.
Arab Bank’s first-half 2020 earnings dropped precipitously, to $152 million from $453 million a year earlier, as it boosted provisions for potential bad loans. The additional provisions meant that buffers held against nonperforming loans continue to exceed 100%. Customer deposits rose 5% while loans grew 2%. The bank’s capital adequacy ratio was 16.8%.
—Nemeh Sabbagh, CEO
BEST DERIVATIVES BANK
Société Générale takes honors as 2020 Best Derivatives Bank globally as well as the Best Bank for Equity Derivatives. Last year, the French bank reached an agreement to acquire the equity markets and commodities business of Commerzbank, which is an originator, distributor and market-maker in structured and flow products as well as asset management solutions.
In equity derivatives, “we went from being number one in structured products to an even stronger number one,” says Alexandre Fleury, head of equities and equity derivatives for global markets.
Innovation and new-product creation have driven Société Générale’s growth and solidified its status, says Fleury. One unique instance last year was the introduction of a philanthropic component whereby clients can make charitable donations each time a trade occurs.
“That has proven to be extremely successful with our private banking clients,” Fleury says. “We were also the first ones to get approvals for an environmental, social and governance index that we could have in retail distribution of structured projects.”
—Alexandre Fleury, head of Equities and Equity Derivatives for Global Markets
BEST BANK FOR SUSTAINABLE FINANCE
BNP Paribas, 2020 Best Bank for Sustainable Finance, has acted as sustainability coordinator or structuring agent for numerous sustainable-finance transactions and underwritten many green bond issues. BNP Paribas also holds the title for Global Finance’s Best Trade Finance Provider–Bank. In February, it closed a sustainability-linked loan (SLL) with JetBlue Airways through an amendment to its revolving credit facility. It also closed the first sustainability-linked syndicated credit facility in Canada with WSP Global, a professional-services firm. Also in Canada, BNP Paribas closed a bilateral, incentive-linked corporate revolving credit facility with Brookfield Renewable Partners.
Expanding the structure geographically, BNP Paribas closed its first SLL in Latin America in August: a $100 million syndicated revolving credit facility with Empresas CMPC, a Chilean pulp and paper company. The bank acted as joint lead arranger and sole sustainability coordinator and will be the administrative agent for the facility, which includes environmental sustainability performance targets for greenhouse gas emissions, industrial water use, industrial waste, and conservation and restoration.
—Alexandra Basirov, global head of sustainable finance
BEST SME BANK
A leader among international financial institutions using guarantee funds to finance small and midsize enterprises (SMEs), disbursing more than $3.5 billion to 20,000 businesses last year, UniCredit is 2020 Best SME Bank. This past summer, it entered into a Covid-19 support package offered by the European Investment Fund (EIF), allowing the bank to provide working capital loans to SMEs in Central and Eastern Europe guaranteed at a rate of 80% under simplified eligibility criteria. UniCredit is using the package to provide support for companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Also this year, UniCredit and the Eropean EIF, part of the European Investment Bank Group, agreed to provide $237 million each in financing to support the digitization of Italian SMEs. And in June, UniCredit signed the first $18 million tranche of financing to help SMEs in Serbia improve the social impact of their businesses.
“To do well, we also have to do good,” says CEO Jean Pierre Mustier. “At UniCredit, all our actions are guided by clear value, such as the importance of actively supporting our communities. Thanks to our Social Impact Banking initiative, we make investments that have a positive impact on society.”
—Jean Pierre Mustier, CEO
BEST GLOBAL TRANSACTION BANK
Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) offers integrated cash management and trade finance services, helping corporations maximize their liquidity from operations around the world with virtual accounts and cross-currency sweeps and earning the bank recognition as 2020 Best Global Transaction Bank. Citi has continued to invest in technology to support innovation and efficiency in TTS, including direct connections to clients’ treasury workstations and systems to speed payments and receivables.
With its market-leading global network, Citi is able to capture clients’ end-to-end cross-border trade flows. Along with electronic trade loans and distribution or sales finance, its data analytics offerings provide insights aimed at adding value at each stage of the transaction life cycle.
—Naveed Sultan, global head, Treasury and Trade Solutions
BEST SUB-CUSTODIAN BANK
Citi’s consistently high level of service and the breadth of its proprietary network—the largest in the industry—earns it recognition as 2020 Best Subcustodian Bank globally as well as in Latin America and the US. It continues to expand its service geographically. In August, it began offering direct custody and clearing (DCC) services in Finland, making it the only international bank offering DCC services to the entire Nordic region. In September, it became the first US bank to receive a fund custody license in China.
Citi has deep custody expertise in Latin America, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Panama. It introduced several service enhancements in the region last year, including a change in Swift messaging in Chile and Peru to facilitate cash and reconciliation processes for clients, while Citibanamex automated processing of tax credits for corporate bonds in Mexico. Supporting its Latin America regional award, at the country level Citi earned top subcustodian honors in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. It was recently selected to provide custody and tax services to Peru’s Cavali, the central securities depository for the Lima Stock Exchange, with responsibility for $6 billion of dual-listed securities.
Altogether, Citi had $21.5 trillion of assets under custody and administration at the end of the first quarter.
—Sanjiv Sawhney, global head of Custody and Fund Services
BEST ISLAMIC FINANCIAL INSTITUTION
Kuwait Finance House
Islamic financial institutions enjoyed good earnings results in 2019 across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, as growing asset bases and strong demand for financing drove increased net profit. Kuwait Finance House (KFH), 2020 Best Islamic Financial Institution, has established a growing Islamic fund management operation through its investment arm, KFH Capital Investment. One of its main offerings, the KFH Capital Sukuk Fund, was a standout performer in 2019.
KFH Takaful is showing strong momentum in the expanding Islamic insurance market. The creation of a new app and website boosted customer demand, in part by simplifying access to the bank’s wide range of insurance products, including housing and travel plans. KFH Takaful’s medical insurance line also recorded good growth in 2019, and the bank is active in reinsurance as well.
—Ahmad Saud Al-Kharji, CEO
BEST INVESTMENT BANK
Honors as 2020 Best Investment Bank go to J.P. Morgan, a repeat winner. The bank stands out for its size as well as for innovation and reach across markets. According to Dealogic, revenue-banking share for J.P. Morgan in the Americas grew 11.5% last year to $4.5 billion.
“Capital has gone up from $62 billion to $80 billion in the last five years,” says Daniel Pinto, co-COO and the CEO of J.P. Morgan’s Corporate and Investment Bank and CEO of its Corporate & Investment Bank, “but 90% of the increase is related to methodology changes and higher capitalization, with only 10% of it related to new business initiatives.”
J.P. Morgan has gained market share in global investment banking over four consecutive years, even though the industry wallet has remained flat, ranking first in both debt and equity capital management. It participated in all of the top five fee-paying deals in 2019 and was an adviser to Saudi Aramco for its $69.1 billion purchase of Saudi Basic Industries in June.
—Daniel Pinto, co-COO and CEO, Corporate and Investment Bank
BEST CASH MANAGEMENT BANK
The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the need for corporate treasurers to gain greater visibility and control of their cash. “One of the perennial challenges for treasury has been accurate cash forecasting,” says Ricky Kaura, head of transaction banking, East Asia, at Standard Chartered, 2020 Best Cash Management Bank. “This pain point is highlighted repeatedly in our discussions as well as external benchmarking studies. The introduction of real-time digital payment platforms across Asia-Pacific is changing the landscape and facilitating the reengineering of cash and treasury management processes.”
Adoption of application programming interfaces (APIs) has accelerated throughout the region, he notes. Real-time cash movement is allowing Standard Chartered’s corporate clients to connect directly to their underlying consumers, and many business-to-customer solutions and use cases are developing.
“APIs make it easier to integrate across disparate technology interfaces and enhance the speed at which integration can take place,” says Lisa Robins, the bank’s global head of transaction banking. “A library of APIs for different use cases allows corporate treasurers to pick and choose what they need and accelerates the delivery of new capabilities.”
—Lisa Robins, global head of transaction banking
BEST TRADE FINANCE PROVIDER—BANK
More than 40,000 corporations worldwide rely on BNP Paribas, 2020 Best Trade Finance Provider—Bank, for trade-related advice and operating capabilities, including customized solutions to optimize working capital. The French bank operates more than 100 trade centers in 60 countries to serve as corporate entry points for all client trade needs. Centric, the bank’s client platform for treasury operations, provides access to all of the bank’s services, including trade finance, supply chain and cash management.
BNP Paribas’ dedicated trade centers are staffed by 350 multilingual trade experts. An additional 1,200 middle- and back-office employees complete the bank’s trade team, which handles 14 million trade-related transactions annually. BNP Paribas is one of the founding members of Voltron, the open platform for documentary trade; and in 2018 it entered into a partnership with Cashforce, a fintech, to offer digital cash flow forecasting and working capital services to corporate treasurers.
—Vincent Davignon, head of trade expertise and regulatory affairs
BEST TRADE FINANCE PROVIDER—NONBANK
With a raft of nonbank providers entering the bank-dominated trade finance industry, the editors thought it was time to acknowledge these relative newcomers’ contribution to one of the oldest businesses in banking. For the first time, we are awarding a nonbank provider a top honor in Global Finance’s 2020 Best Trade Finance Provider—Nonbank. Is this also the first time a nonbank provider has been given this award.
Tradeteq is a London-based marketplace that uses machine learning and nontraditional data sets to help institutional investors build better-informed risk models and credit-scoring tools for investing in and monitoring portfolios of trade finance assets. Tradeteq’s objective is to increase participation by pension funds and insurance companies in this growing asset class and turn trade finance assets into investment products with a positive knock-on effect on capital-markets liquidity. It’s a timely goal. In 2016, the Asian Development Bank identified a $1.5 trillion trade financing gap in Asian developing markets alone, creating a larger role for new providers who can attract new classes of investors.
—Christoph Gugelmann, CEO
BEST SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCE PROVIDER—BANK
Citi, 2020 Best Supply Chain Provider—Bank, maintains an on-the-ground presence in numerous markets. With more than 15 years of experience structuring supply chain finance (SCF) programs, its local-market knowledge has made it invaluable to corporate clients. It continues to invest in its proprietary Citi Supplier Finance platform, which it recently integrated with its WorldLink Payment Services cross-currency platform, enabling clients to select multiple major currencies for settlement.
Citi was also one of the first providers to realize the potential of trade as an asset class in its own right; its trade asset distribution model taps into a global network of investors that support the growth of companies’ SCF programs.
—Naveed Sultan, global head, Treasury and Trade Solutions
BEST SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCE PROVIDER—NONBANK
The market for trade and supply chain finance has witnessed a flurry of new entrants in recent years. One provider that has stood the test of time is Orbian, originally founded in 1999 by SAP and Citibank and 2020 Best Supply Chain Finance Provider—Nonbank. In 2019, Orbian managed 100-plus buyer-led SCF programs with more than 5,000 suppliers enrolled. It funds the programs through multiple banks and prides itself on the simplicity of its supplier-enrollment process.
Orbian’s e-card, which received Global Finance’s Innovator award in the Corporate Finance category in 2019, provides early liquidity to suppliers of all sizes, not just those with the largest procurement volumes.
—Thomas Dunn, chairman
BEST FOREIGN EXCHANGE PROVIDER
Citi’s unmatched global reach, technological capabilities and experienced staff of currency experts, traders and analysts earns it the honor of 2020 Best Foreign Exchange Provider. Citi has long commanded a significant share of the $6.6 trillion-a-day foreign exchange (FX) market. It trades more than 140 currencies from FX desks in 83 countries, serving a broad range of clients, and is the top FX dealer to global corporations.
The bank has invested heavily in electronic platforms, which now account for the bulk of its FX trading. It offers a wide range of derivative products, including highly customized options, to help corporate clients manage their worldwide exposures. It also provides liquidity in difficult markets and conditions, and it helps ease the trading experience in emerging markets that often have complex payments and regulatory reporting infrastructures. The CitiFX Pulse platform offers corporations real-time, end-to-end visibility on fund transfers by way of connectivity with the Swift gpi solution.
—Itay Tuchman, global head of FX
BEST PRIVATE BANK
J.P. Morgan Private Bank
J.P. Morgan Private Bank, 2020 Best Private Bank, benefits from the large feeder pool of prospective clients supplied by its retail/corporate partner, JPMorgan Chase; the bulge-bracket investment bank goes into action deploying fortunes already made.
“There is no client too big or too small,” says Mary Callahan Erdoes, CEO of J.P. Morgan Asset and Wealth Management. “The complexity of what we do for you changes with the size and scope of your wealth.”
Despite the turbulence wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis, Erdoes notes, the rich continue to get richer around the globe, building business for private banks. “The number of millionaires and billionaires continues to double all over the world as people invest and create new things,” she says. Soon, that could become a source of political risk for private bankers; but for now, it’s boosting business.
—Mary Callahan Erdoes, CEO, J.P. Morgan Asset and Wealth Management
BEST BANK IN NORTH AMERICA
Bank of America
Bank of America (BofA), 2020 Best Bank in North America, boasts relationships with 95% of the US Fortune 100 companies and is the nation’s leading small-business lender. BofA is also a leading dealer in foreign exchange, derivatives, electronic trading and payment services. In addition, its investment bank offers one of the top market-making platforms.
BofA is also a leader in automation. It completed more than $3 billion in new technology-code initiatives last year, according to Brian Moynihan, CEO and chairman; and it surpassed 10 million clients by the end of 2019 using Erica, its virtual financial assistant for consumers. “We also delivered for shareholders in 2019 by returning a record $3.4 billion in excess capital through dividends and share repurchases,” Moynihan says. BofA and other large US banks halted share buybacks in March to conserve capital needed to support clients during the Covid-19 crisis.
—Brian Moynihan, CEO and chairman
BEST BANK IN LATIN AMERICA
Santander takes 2020 Best Bank in Latin America on its reinvention through technological initiatives, innovative programs and strategic investments in services for its retail, corporate and small to midsize enterprise (SME) customers. Santander Global Platform, which accelerates innovation with digital capabilities, includes Superdigital, the bank’s online financial inclusion platform for individuals and small merchants. It is now available in Brazil, Mexico and Chile, with rollout slated to reach Argentina and three other markets by 2023.
Last November, Santander invested $350 million ($452.1 million) in a majority stake in Ebury, a foreign exchange platform for SMEs that currently operates in 19 countries and 140 currencies. Santander plans to expand the platform to the bank’s Latin American markets. Santander’s global merchant services help SMEs grow by broadening payment capabilities for retailers through Getnet, a merchant payment-processing platform. Santander has been rolling out the platform in Mexico and its other Latin American markets this year. One Pay FX, Santander’s blockchain-based global payments system for SMEs, was expanded to Mexico in March.
—Jose Antonio Alvarez, vice chairman and CEO
BEST BANK IN WESTERN EUROPE
CaixaBank repeats in 2020 as Best Bank in Western Europe, on the strength of its position as the most successful retail lender in the Iberian Peninsula and a leading exponent of customer-friendly digital innovation. It extended its leadership across key market segments last year and increased its underlying earnings while further reducing its nonperforming loans and strengthening capital buffers.
Caixa's home market, Spain, was the hardest hit by Covid-19 among European countries. “Now more than ever, the banking sector is proving necessary in times of need to sustain the economy, help companies keep their operations up and running and support families in a vulnerable situation,” says CEO Gonzalo Gortázar. “It is now when our growth levers take on their true meaning for us.”
In March, the bank launched an initiative to curb the economic effects of the coronavirus. “We offered a €25 billion [$29.6 billion at today’s rate] facility of preapproved loans to 440,000 self-employed workers, 115,000 microenterprises and 52,000 small enterprises,” says Gortázar, “and we deployed a wide range of initiatives to stand by the elderly, homeowners, small retailers, vulnerable families, our employees, health care personnel and society as a whole.”
—Gonzalo Gortázar, CEO
BEST BANK IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
Raiffeisen Bank International
“The economic impact of Covid-19 will be very serious,” says Johann Strobl, CEO of Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), 2020 Best Bank in Central and Eastern Europe, “but we are well prepared, both for the economic downturn and for a quick response once the environment changes for the better again.”
RBI has the broadest and oldest CEE presence of any privately owned financial institution and entered 2020 in a strong position. Last year, the Vienna-based bank expanded its overall lending 13%, focusing on Central Europe, Russia and larger corporate clients serviced by the head office. Only 2.1% of its loans were nonperforming at the end of 2019; however, the bank’s coverage ratio for bad loans stood at 61% after it took on a higher charge for impairments. That fed the bottom line, leaving pretax profit just 1% higher but with stronger capital buffers that raised the bank’s tier-one capital ratio to 15.4%.
Digitization continues to occupy the forefront of RBI’s strategic vision. “Our focus during the past year has been on innovation and the resulting improvement in customer value,” Strobl says. “We started cooperating with fintechs, strengthened our internal innovation power and further developed RBI as an adaptive organization.”
—Johann Strobl, CEO
BEST BANK IN ASIA-PACIFIC
DBS, Best Bank in Asia-Pacific as well as this year’s Best Bank in the World, unambiguously retains its elite status. Return on equity was 13.2% in 2019, thanks to a 14% net profit increase of $4.5 billion—both record numbers for the bank—and 1% trimmed off cost-income ratio.
DBS touts a transformational culture with respect to both digitization and ESG goals. Use of its PayLah! mobile payment app surged in 2019; the bank launched a financing facility in China based on a logistics blockchain platform; and it introduced digiPortfolio, a hybrid human-robot investment solution. DBS continued to tick the ESG boxes with its ongoing focus on gender diversity, employee engagement and a responsible banking framework that directs capital flows to projects that build sustainability.
—Piyush Gupta, CEO
BEST BANK IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Arab Bank’s deep knowledge of the region, prudent approach to banking and well-diversified income streams earned it the title 2020 Best Bank in the Middle East. It also takes the country awards for Jordan and Yemen. Arab Bank reported earnings rising 3.2% to $846.5 million in 2019 while maintaining the quality of its credit portfolio with loan-loss provisions exceeding 100%.
“Arab Bank enjoys a distinctive presence across the MENA [Middle East and North Africa] region," says CEO Nemeh Sabbagh. We are deeply rooted in all the Arab countries, where we operate as a local bank as opposed to a branch of a foreign bank.”
With a network of more than 600 branches, Arab Bank obtains more than 70% of its income outside of Jordan. The coronavirus outbreak poses “an unprecedented challenge and a very serious threat at all levels and across all geographies,” Sabbagh says. “As a leading regional financial institution, we are deploying the resources and capabilities needed to protect our employees, our customers and the communities in which we operate.”
—Nemeh Sabbagh, CEO
BEST BANK IN AFRICA
Standard Bank is moving forward with its technological transformation amid the pandemic. Africa’s largest banking group, with a presence in 20 sub-Saharan countries and 1,200 branches, the group’s strong capital and liquidity positions going into the crisis allowed it to provide $9.85 billion of temporary relief to customers and clients without constraining its ability to lend to existing and new customers and clients or support new projects.
“During this time, we have remained steadfast in support of our clients, our employees and the communities in the countries we operate in,” says Group CEO Sim Tshabalala.
In June, Standard Bank signed an extended agreement with Salesforce to deliver digital experiences to its customers through a client-centered platform powered by Microsoft and Amazon Web Services’ cloud capabilities.
“We don’t want to be the shop, we want to be the mall,” Tshabalala says.
—Sim Tshabalala, group CEO
BEST GLOBAL BANKS 2020
|Best Bank In The World||DBS|
|Best Corporate Bank||Citi|
|Best Consumer Bank||CaixaBank|
|Best Emerging Markets Bank||CIB|
|Best Frontier Markets Bank||Arab Bank|
|Best Derivatives Bank||Société Générale|
|Best Bank For Sustainable Finance||BNP Paribas|
|Best SME Bank||Unicredit|
|Best Global Transaction Bank||Citi|
|Best Islamic Financial Institution||Citi|
|Best Investment Bank||Kuwait Finance House|
|Best Cash Management Bank||J.P. Morgan|
|Best Trade Finance Provider—Bank||Standard Chartered|
|Best Trade Finance Provider—Bank||BNP Paribas|
|Best Trade Finance Provider—Non-Bank||Tradeteq|
|Best Supply Chain Finance Provider—Bank||Citi|
|Best Supply Chain Finance Provider—Non-Bank||Orbian|
|Best Foreign Exchange Provider||Citi|
|Best Private Bank||J.P. Morgan Private|
|North America||Bank of America|
|Central & Eastern Europe||Raiffeisen Bank International|
|Middle East||Arab Bank|
North America Winners
|Canada||Royal Bank of Canada|
|United States||Bank of America|
Latin America Winners
|Barbados||RBC Royal Bank|
|Bolivia||Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz|
|Cayman Islands||Cayman National Bank|
|Chile||Banco de Chile|
|Colombia||Banco de Bogotá|
|Costa Rica||BAC Credomatic|
|El Salvador||Banco Cuscatlán|
|Jamaica||National Commercial Bank|
|Nicaragua||Banco LAFISE Bancentro|
|Paraguay||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
|Ireland||Allied Irish Bank|
|Monaco||CFM Indosuez Wealth|
|Portugal||Banco Santander Totta|
Central & Eastern Europe Winners
|Albania||Banka Kombetare Tregtare|
|Bosnia & Hercegovina||UniCredit|
|Latvia||SEB banka Latvia|
|North Macedonia||Ohridska Banka|
|Serbia||Banca Intesa Beograd|
|Ukraine||Raiffeisen Bank Aval|
|Azerbaijan||International Bank of Azerbaijan|
|Brunei Darussalam||Baiduri Bank|
|Hong Kong||The Bank of East Asia|
|India||State Bank of India|
|New Zealand||Westpac New Zealand|
|South Korea||Hana Bank|
|Sri Lanka||Commercial Bank of Ceylon|
|Uzbekistan||Asia Alliance Bank|
Middle East Winners
|Bahrain||Ahli United Bank|
|Egypt||Commercial International Bank|
|Iraq||Trade Bank of Iraq|
|Kuwait||National Bank of Kuwait|
|Palestine||Bank of Palestine|
|Qatar||Qatar National Bank|
|United Arab Emirates||First Abu Dhabi Bank|
|Yemen||Arab Bank Yemen|
|Algeria||Societe Generale Algerie|
|Angola||Banco de Fomento Angola|
|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|
|Ghana||Fidelity Bank Ghana|
|Guinea||Societe Generale de Banques en Guinée|
|Kenya||KCB Bank Kenya|
|Malawi||National Bank of Malawi|
|Namibia||First National Bank of Namibia|
|Rwanda||I&M Bank Rwanda|
|Senegal||Societe Generale Senegal|
|Sierra Leone||Union Trust Bank|
|South Africa||Standard Bank|
|Sudan||Omdurman National Bank|
|Uganda||Stanbic Bank Uganda|
|Zambia||Zambia National Commercial Bank|
US Regional Winners
|Far West||Union Bank|
|Great Lakes||US Bancorp|
|New England||Citizens Bank|
|Rocky Mountain||Zions Bancorp|
|Southeast||Trust Corp. (formerly SunTrust)|
WORLD'S BEST ISLAMIC
FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS 2020
|Best Islamic Financial Institution||Kuwait Finance House|
|Best Islamic Corporate Bank||Samba Financial Group|
|Best Islamic Retail Bank||Mayank Islamc Berhad|
|Best Islamic Sukuk Bank||Standard Chartered Saadiq|
|Best Islamic Investment Bank||Samba Financial Group|
|Best Islamic Fund Manager||Kuwait Finance House|
|Best Islamic SME Bank||Qatar Islamic Bank|
|Best Islamic Asset Manager||Boubyan Capital|
|Best Islamic Trade Finance Provider||Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank|
|Best Islamic Takaful||Kuwait Finance House|
|Best Islamic Project Finance Provider||Dubai Islamic Bank|
|Best Sukuk Deal of the Year||AAA-rated €1billion ($1.08 billion) green sukuk via the Islamic Development Bank and Standard Chartered|
|IPO/Equity Deal of the Year||Saudi Aramco IPO|
|Africa||Al Baraka Banking Group|
|Asia||Maybank Islamic Berhad|
|Middle East||Qatar Islamic Bank|
|Afghanistan||Afghanistan International Bank|
|Algeria||Banque Al Baraka D’Algérie|
|Bahrain||Al Salam Bank|
|Bangladesh||Standard Chartered Saadiq Bangladesh|
|Brunei Darussalam||Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam|
|Egypt||Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Egypt|
|Indonesia||Bank Syariah Mandiri|
|Iraq||Bank of Baghdad|
|Jordan||Jordan Islamic Bank|
|Kazakhstan||Al Hilal Bank|
|Lebanon||Al Baraka Bank|
|Malaysia||Maybank Islamic Berhad|
|Palestine||Arab Islamic Bank|
|Qatar||Qatar Islamic Bank|
|Saudi Arabia||Samba Financial Group|
|Singapore||Maybank Islamic Berhad|
|South Africa||HBZ Bank|
|Sri Lanka||Amana Bank|
|Tunisia||Al Baraka Bank Tunisia|
|Turkey||Kuveyt Türk Katilim Bankasi|
|UAE||Emirates Islamic Bank|
WORLD'S BEST INVESTMENT BANKS 2020
|Global Best Investment Bank||J.P. Morgan|
|Best Boutique Investment Bank||Cowen Group|
|Best in Emerging Markets||VTB Capital|
|Best in Frontier Markets||Halyk Finance|
|Best Equity Bank||UBS|
|Best Debt Bank||DBS|
|Best M&A Bank||Morgan Stanley|
|Best Up & Comer||Marathon Capital|
|Best Bank for IPOs||Credit Suisse|
|Best Bank for New Financial Technology||Investec|
|Best Bank for Sustainable Finance||Standard Bank|
|North America||J.P Morgan|
|Central & Eastern Europe||Bank Pekao|
|Latin America||Bradesco BBI|
|Middle East||EFG Hermes|
|Angola||Standard Bank Angola|
|Argentina||Banco de la Nacion Argentina|
|Austria||Raiffeisen Bank International|
|Canada||RBC Capital Markets|
|Chile||Banchile Citi Global Markets|
|Colombia||Banca de Inversión Bancolombia|
|Cyprus||Bank of Cyprus|
|Dominican Republic||Banco Popular Dominicano|
|Georgia||Galt & Taggart|
|Iceland||Icelandic Investment Bank|
|Iraq||Investment Bank of Iraq|
|Ireland||Allied Irish Bank|
|Japan||Mizuho Financial Group|
|Jordan||Bank of Jordan|
|Malaysia||Maybank Investment Bank|
|Mauritius||Standard Bank Mauritius|
|New Zealand||ASB Bank|
|Nigeria||Coronation Merchant Bank|
|Peru||Banco de Credito del Peru|
|Philippines||BDO Capital and Investment Corporation|
|Rwanda||Bank of Kigali|
|Saudi Arabia||Samba Capital|
|South Africa||Standard Bank|
|South Korea||NH Investments & Securities|
|Thailand||Siam Commercial Bank|
|UAE||First Abu Dhabi Bank|
|United States||J.P. Morgan|