Bernard Lee

Singapore Banks Continue to Consolidate Their Global Brand Presence

Press release   •   Feb 07, 2019 15:28 +08

  • Led by DBS as the ASEAN’s most valuable banking brand (US$ 9.027 billion), Singapore banks dominate top 3 spots of the Brand Finance Banking 500 2019 ranking in ASEAN.
  • DBS was also ranked 14th in Asia and 34th Most valuable bank brand in the world.
  • Singapore banks were all ranked amongst the top 60 bank brands globally.
  • UOB was the all-rounder ASEAN bank with significant improvements across their brand value, brand rankings and brand strength score.
  • UOB overtook OCBC for the first time to claim the title of the 2nd most valuable AEAN bank brand with a brand value of US$ 5.662 billion.
  • OCBC was ranked as the 3rd most valuable bank brand in ASEAN and in Singapore with a brand value of US$ 5.653 billion narrowly missing the # 2 spot by a mere US$ 9 million.
  • All ASEAN banks, with the exception of East West Bank (-4%), Panin Bank (-9%), and Bank Danamon (-63%), improved their brand value.

Singapore banks dominate the top spots in AESAN in the Brand Finance Banking 500 2019 ranking, published in The Banker magazine. DBS leads as the ASEAN’s most valuable banking brand, growing 39% to US$ 9.02 billion. It also fared well in brand strength as one of top 15 strongest bank brands globally this year with a AAA- brand strength rating. UOB comes in 2nd place (US$5.662 billion) with OCBC (US$5.653 billionin 3rd place. The same rankings were also applicable for Singapore.

While DBS’s and OCBC’s strong performance was attributed to acquisitions, overseas expansion and revenue growth from outside of Singapore, UOB’s brand value growth was purely organic.

Top 10 Most Valuable ASEAN Bank Brands

2019 ASEAN Rank 2019 Global Rank 2018 Global Rank Brand Name Country 2019 Brand Valuation 2019 BSI 2019 Brand Rating
1 34 40 DBS Singapore 9,027 86.76 AAA
2 55 66 UOB Singapore 5,662 84.72 AAA
3 56 64 OCBC Bank Singapore 5,653 84.88 AAA
4 72 83 Maybank Malaysia 4,209 86.03 AAA
5 92 82 BRI Indonesia 3,268 86.91 AAA
6 100 101 BCA Indonesia 2,644 91.01 AAA+
7 105 105 Bank Mandiri Indonesia 2,558 87.87 AAA
8 117 113 Siam Commercial Bank Thailand 2,198 84.15 AAA-
9 118 117 Kasikornbank Thailand 2,197 88.41 AAA
10 119 136 Public Bank Malaysia 2,192 85.35 AAA

Samir Dixit, managing Director of Brand Finance Asia Pacific, comments:

“While we see tremendous growth for the Singapore bank brands, it’s a struggle for the rest of the banks in the region with only 6 ASEAN banks in the top 100 global rankings. Given the size of the ASEAN economy and potential growth, this is very worrying and only means one thing, lack of identification, lack of understanding and eventually lack of focus for the biggest and the most valuable asset that the banks have, their brands.”

“There is also an imminent threat from the Chinese Banks and the other global brands who are only restricted due to the regulatory rules favouring the local banks in ASEAN. In a free world, most of the ASEAN bank brands except DBS perhaps would prove to be non-competitive outside of their home markets, unlike the Chinese and western banks” added Samir Dixit.

Top 10 Most Valuable Banking Brands

Rank 2019 Rank 2018 Brand name Country Brand value (USD m) 2019 % change Brand value (USD m) 2018
1 1 ICBC China 79,823 34.9% 59,189
2 2 China Construction Bank China 69,742 22.8% 56,789
3 6 Agricultural Bank of China China 55,040 47.5% 37,321
4 4 Bank of China China 50,990 22.1% 41,750
5 3 Wells Fargo US 39,948 -9.4% 44,098
6 7 Bank of America US 36,687 10.2% 33,289
7 8 Citi US 36,407 18.3% 30,783
8 5 Chase US 36,265 -6.6% 38,842
9 11 China Merchants Bank China 22,480 34.8% 16,673
10 9 HSBC UK 20,189 10.3% 18,305

The growth trajectory of China’s banks, against a backdrop of trade friction and currency concerns, remains strong, thanks to a growing middle class and government support. China’s overall brand value growth was 28%, double the United States’ total growth. Furthermore, China’s presence and growth rate is underlined by the country’s total brand value of US$406.9 billion, more than US$100 billion higher than the United States’ total brand value (US$297.0 billion).

Globally, Chinese banking brands grew at an outstanding rate despite fears of an economic slowdown and the rise of protectionism in international trade. The Chinese market remains so vast that it can sustain these brands’ growth for many more years, but as they set their eyes on foreign markets, their expansion is likely to accelerate even more rapidly, and the Western banks should take notice.

China drove Asia’s growth rate of 26%. The other regions trail Asia, with North America growing by 15% and Europe rising by just 4%. The United States, benefiting from strong fundamentals, has 81 brands in the Brand Finance Banking 500 versus China’s 48, and continued to grow, albeit less vigorously. All but three US banks saw their brand value rise, but two of those three are among the country’s largest brands.

US banks perception woes

Wells Fargo, which experienced a number of challenges around reputation, is the highest-placed US bank in 5th place, although brand value declined 9% to US$39.9 billion. Wells Fargo leads a cluster of US banks in the top 10, including Chase, the only other large US bank to decline (down 7% to US$36.3 billion).

Despite being in a healthier state due to early regulatory intervention in the global financial crisis, many US banks are hampered by perception issues. Proprietary consumer research conducted by Brand Finance revealed US banks fare badly in terms of reputation and providing value for money.

European banks struggle to grow

While US banks have recovered, the European banking system is now experiencing significant hurdles due to a less active approach to the financial crisis. As a result, brand values have fallen and customer satisfaction is at an all-time low.

Germany, for example, has seen its banks lose 24% of overall brand value, with Deutsche Bank being the only German brand to make the top 100. The bank dropped from 47th to 70th and lost 30% of brand value to US$4.3 billion, due to sustained losses and management volatility. The plight of Germany’s banks is underlined by three of the country’s leading financial institutions languishing among the fastest declining brands by strength – Nord LB (-23%), Bayerische Landesbank (-19%) and Deutsche Bank (-13%). All three banks scored lowly for innovation, quality, value for money and reputation, although in the area of customer loyalty, Deutsche Bank and Nord LB retain relatively high scores of 58.13% and 55.79%, respectively. All three banks also dropped significantly in brand value.

The UK banking landscape, with the added complication and long-term uncertainty around the country’s forthcoming departure from the European Union, is stagnant. A decade after the bail-out of the UK banking system, RBS lost 32% of its brand value dropping 52 spots to 234th. Among the larger banks, the RBS subsidiary, NatWest, provides grounds for optimism, with brand value rising 19% to US$7.7 billion.

Banca Mediolanum stands out

Italy’s banks continue to struggle on the back of the country’s economic woes, yet Banca Mediolanum is the fastest-growing brand in the Brand Finance Banking 500, with its brand value improving 82% to US$569 million. The bank scores well on consumer metrics such as ‘innovation’ as well as ‘differentiation’. Following a rebranding two years ago, when the banking and insurance lines of business were merged, Banca Mediolanum is now known for offering an all-round customer experience that makes it stand out from among its competitors.

Russia’s Sberbank becomes banking industry’s strongest brand

Apart from calculating brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. According to these criteria, Moscow-headquartered Sberbank has claimed the title of the world’s strongest banking brand for the first time this year, with a score of 93.1 and the elite AAA+ rating. With over 14,000 branches, assets of US$446 billion and 45% of all deposits in Russia, Sberbank’s brand enjoys phenomenal success in the country. The bank boasts high scores across familiarity (92.9%), loyalty (94.6%) and consideration (92.7%). Importantly, in an age when many banks fare poorly in reputation rankings, Sberbank achieves a remarkable 7.99 (out of 10) score and also a relatively high score (3.93 out of 5) for quality.

Majority-owned by the Russian Central Bank, Sberbank’s position in the Russian financial system is unrivalled. The bank has around 2.5 million corporate customers and is building an ecosystem through which its customers are able to access e-commerce, e-government, e-trade, and other professional, mass digital, and offline services.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“Sberbank’s high-quality services and products create the kind of loyalty that results in long-term customer relationships. Unparalleled within Russia, the bank can deepen its relationship with customers and extend into new products, services, and even industries.”


Note to Editors

Every year, leading valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance values the world’s biggest brands. The 500 most valuable banking brands in the world are included in the Brand Finance Banking 500 report and published by The Banker magazine.

Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors.

Brand Finance helped craft the internationally recognised standard on Brand Valuation – ISO 10668, and the recently approved standard on Brand Evaluation – ISO 20671.

Additional insights, more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Banking 500 report.

Key findings of the study will also be presented at the Brand Finance Banking Forum organised in partnership with The Banker magazine and scheduled to take place on 21st March 2019 at Brand Exchange in London. The event will focus on refreshing bank brands to meet global reputational challenges.

Data compiled for the Brand Finance league tables and reports are provided for the benefit of the media and are not to be used for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

About Brand Finance

Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation and strategy consultancy, with offices in over 20 countries. Brand Finance bridges the gap between marketing and finance by quantifying the financial value of brands. Drawing on expertise in strategy, branding, market research, visual identity, finance, tax, and intellectual property, Brand Finance helps brand owners and investors make the right decisions to maximise brand and business value.

About The Banker

The Banker provides economic and financial intelligence for the world's financial sector and has built a reputation for objective and incisive reporting. It leads the debate on all the issues surrounding the global banking industry, providing in-depth news and analysis, exclusive interviews with senior industry figures and definitive regional bank listings, including the internationally acclaimed Top 1000 World Banks ranking.


Definition of Brand

Brand Finance helped to craft the internationally recognised standard on Brand Valuation – ISO 10668. It defines a brand as a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs, intended to identify goods, services or entities, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits.

Brand Strength

Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures, relative to its competitors. In order to determine the strength of a brand, we look at Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and the impact of those on Business Performance.

Each brand is assigned a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score out of 100, which feeds into the brand value calculation. Based on the score, each brand is assigned a corresponding rating up to AAA+ in a format similar to a credit rating.

Brand Valuation Approach

Brand Finance calculates the values of the brands in its league tables using the Royalty Relief approach – a brand valuation method compliant with the industry standards set in ISO 10668. It involves estimating the likely future revenues that are attributable to a brand by calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for its use, to arrive at a ‘brand value’ understood as a net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market.

The steps in this process are as follows:

1 Calculate brand strength using a balanced scorecard of metrics assessing Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity and Business Performance. Brand strength is expressed as a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score on a scale of 0 to 100.

2 Determine royalty range for each industry, reflecting the importance of brand to purchasing decisions. In luxury, the maximum percentage is high, in extractive industry, where goods are often commoditised, it is lower. This is done by reviewing comparable licensing agreements sourced from Brand Finance’s extensive database.

3 Calculate royalty rate. The BSI score is applied to the royalty range to arrive at a royalty rate. For example, if the royalty range in a sector is 0-5% and a brand has a BSI score of 80 out of 100, then an appropriate royalty rate for the use of this brand in the given sector will be 4%.

4 Determine brand-specific revenues by estimating a proportion of parent company revenues attributable to a brand.

5 Determine forecast revenues using a function of historic revenues, equity analyst forecasts, and economic growth rates.

6 Apply the royalty rate to the forecast revenues to derive brand revenues.

7 Brand revenues are discounted post-tax to a net present value which equals the brand value.