Bernard Lee

Singapore Banks Continue to Dominate Their Global Brand Presence Again

Press release   •   Feb 05, 2020 23:56 +08

  • Led by DBS as the ASEAN’s most valuable banking brand (US$ 8.473 billion), Singapore banks dominate top 3 spots of the Brand Finance Banking 500 2020 ranking in ASEAN again.
  • DBS was also ranked 15th in Asia and 36th Most valuable bank brand in the world.
  • All 3 Singapore banks have seen a marginal drop not only in ranking but also in brand value.
  • Singapore banks were all ranked amongst the top 70 bank brands globally.
  • BCA of Indonesia and Russia's Sherbank are the world's strongest banking brands, both with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 91.6 out of a 100 and an elite AAA+ rating.
  • Vietcombank is the all-rounder ASEAN bank with significant improvements across their brand value and brand rankings.
  • Asian boost from Vietcombank who has climbed by 99% in brand value and the second highest growth rate by percentage globally. They also see the highest climb in ranking by 118 spots.
  • ASEAN region is home to five of the top 10 banks by brand strength, with Maybank, DBS, BNI and Bank Mandiri hot on BCA’s heels.
  • 2020 rankings see an increase of 5 new Vietnamese brands that made it into the list making it to 9 banks on the ASEAN rankings.
  • OCBC has regained their rank as the 2nd most valuable bank brand in ASEAN and in Singapore with a brand value of US$ 4.841 billion narrowly pushing last year # 2 spot taken by UOB by a narrow gap of US$ 122 million.

Singapore banks dominate the top spots in AESAN in the Brand Finance Banking 500 2020 ranking, published in The Banker magazine. DBS leads as the ASEAN’s most valuable banking brand with a brand value of US$ 8.47 billion. It also fared well in brand strength as one of top 10 strongest bank brands globally this year with a AAA brand strength rating. OCBC comes in 2nd place (US$4.841 billion) with UOB (US$4.719 billion in 3rd place. The same rankings were also applicable for Singapore. While DBS’s, OCBC’s and UOB’s brand value have seen a marginal dip, their brand strength has also see a small drop as well.

Top 10 Most Valuable ASEAN Bank Brands

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 7 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

Chinese banks maintain lead

China’s ICBC retains top position with its brand value reaching US$80.8 billion. The year-on-year increase of 1% is nonetheless very modest compared to the brand’s average growth rate of 23% between 2009-2019. Although at a slower pace than in the past, ICBC has still extended its lead at the top to more than US$18 billion, owing to a 10% drop in brand value at China Construction Bank (brand value US$62.6 billion). ICBC continues to explore new business opportunities, growing in both investment banking and asset management. The bank is also involved in joint ventures with overseas partners and has embarked on blockchain-oriented initiatives.

China’s banks have been affected by the now-curtailed trade war with the US and there have been concerns about big lenders being forced to relax their underwriting policies to stimulate the country’s economy. ICBC is China’s biggest lender but has reduced non-performing loans to less than 1.5% and enjoys the loyalty of well over 600 million customers.

Agricultural Bank of China (US$54.7 billion) and Bank of China (US$50.6 billion) saw a slight dip in brand value but maintained their third and fourth places respectively.

Resurgent JPMorgan and Merrill

US banks have an increased presence in the top 10 due to the healthy growth of JPMorgan (up 15% to US$22.8 billion), the second highest rise in terms of cash amount (US$3 billion) across the whole ranking. JPMorgan also topped the brand value in investment banking and asset management, following expansion in 16 markets and significant investments in technology, Artificial Intelligence, and their securities business in China.

Another US bank that has increased its brand value is Merrill (up 10% to US$7.0 billion). Merrill has dropped “Lynch” from its name and is enjoying strong growth in new client acquisitions, boosted by an aggressive hiring programme and through the cross-selling Bank of America products.

Wells Fargo (up 2% to US$40.9 billion) remains the top brand in the US, however, occupying only fifth position globally with half the brand value exhibited by ICBC. The bank has overcome a string of reputational setbacks to relaunch its brand, including a new visual identity and multiple changes in its senior management structure.

In neighbouring Canada, the leading bank by brand value is TD, which jumped four places to 13th and saw its brand value grow by 15% to US$16.1 billion.As Canada’s Big Five have maintained a heavy saturation of the domestic market, TD has led the way among brands seeking growth further afield. Expansion down the Eastern seaboard of the US has brought the bank considerable success and played a major role in brand value growth. TD’s brand value in the US has increased at 27% CAGR, versus 6% for the remaining operations, with the US market now responsible for 42% of TD’s overall brand value.

Europe’s challenge

European banks have lost 7% in value, more than any other region, with several major banks losing significant brand value. Principal players such as Deutsche Bank (-17%), UBS (-14%), BNP Paribas (-10%), Barclays (-8%), and Credit Suisse (-8%) have all declined. Europe’s top bank is HSBC, dropping out of the top 10 for the first time this year, following 4% brand value decrease to US$19.5 billion.

As established brands continue to see their value eroded, so-called challenger banks are in the ascendancy. Virgin Money, benefitting from the rebranding of Clydesdale Bank, increased brand value by 49% to US$0.7 billion, and Shawbrook rose by 73% to US$0.3 billion.

Positive momentum is also evident in some central and eastern European brands such as Romania’s Banca Transilvania (up 53%), OTP Bank of Hungary (+33%) and Russia’s VTB Bank (+32%).

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“Challenger banks, with their culture of innovation and flexibility, are becoming more of a threat to traditional banks that are losing brand impetus. For example, while principal banks in major markets have lost significant value, new lenders such as Virgin – up by 49% - and Shawbrook – 73% - are adding real value to their offering as the dynamic changes.”

QNB outpaces Middle Eastern competitors

Qatar National Bank, the biggest lender in the region, has a clear lead over competitors, with its brand value of US$6.0 billion almost 50% higher than that of the second-placed banking brand in the Middle East. QNB’s brand value has grown 20% since 2019 – despite a regional embargo on Qatar – as the bank has been pursuing expansion across new markets, with a notable strategic focus on Southeast Asia.

Asian boost from Vietnam

The market with the highest increase in brand value is Vietnam, which has risen by 146%. Vietcombank climbed by 99% to US$0.8 billion, the second highest growth rate by percentage globally. Since the Vietnamese government introduced its strategy to boost accountability and strength of the banking sector, including more stringent capital requirements and greater transparency, customer perception has improved. Growing confidence in the sector – reputation measures have improved 8% in Brand Finance’s research – has translated into higher revenues and a more positive outlook from equity analysts.

Brand strength elite

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. Alongside revenue forecasts, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value.

According to these criteria, Indonesia’s BCA, which has become one of Asian banking’s most admired companies, has the sector’s strongest brand, along with Russia’s Sberbank, both of which boast an impressive Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 91.6 out of 100 and the corresponding elite brand rating of AAA+.

BCA is one of the biggest banks in the ASEAN region, with a low percentage of non-performing loans and a high return on equity. Moreover, BCA is an influential brand in terms of SME growth and lending in rural areas. The ASEAN region is home to five of the top 10 banks by brand strength, with Maybank, DBS, BNI, and Bank Mandiri hot on BCA’s heels. Some Asian banks have lost value due to their exposure to the unstable situation in China’s Hong Kong, but Malaysian and Indonesian banks are not as vulnerable.

Sberbank is a stable brand that has a particular focus on customer experience, from traditional financing to a strong digital offering. The bank is responsible for one third of the Russian banking system and is the country’s largest issuer of debit and credit cards.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“Sberbank lives up to its literal meaning of ‘trust’ in its domestic market and is a bedrock of the Russian financial system. The bank is an excellent example of how customer relationships can build a compelling brand that commands great loyalty.”

South Africa provides two of the top 10 banks by brand strength, Capitec Bank and First National Bank, both of which improved their BSI scores this year. Capitec, which has more customers than any other South African bank, sees its brand strength rise by 0.5 to 89.2, while the country’s oldest bank, First National Bank, has a BSI of 87.6, up from 87.3 last year.

View the full Brand Finance Banking 500 2020 report here


About Brand Finance

Brand Finance plc, the world's leading brand valuation consultancy, advises strongly branded organisations on maximising their brand value through effective management of their brands and intangible assets. Founded in 1996, Brand Finance has performed thousands of branded business, brand and intangible asset valuations worth trillions of dollars.

Its clients include international brand owners, tax authorities, Intellectual Property lawyers and investment banks. Its work is frequently peer-reviewed by the big four audit practices and its reports have been accepted by various regulatory bodies, including the UK Takeover Panel.

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