World’s Best Banks 2024—North America

Banks blend the best of high-touch services and low-touch environments.

For the Best Bank winners in North America, aggressive innovation is the catalyst for the banks’ evolution and permeates all areas of their franchises. A focus on improving engagement with new and existing customers is a critical component driving expansion strategy, and these banks increasingly rely on integrating a growing suite of digital banking solutions to achieve strong adoption among clients. This involves developing targeted products with robust functionality, backed by effective customer support. As banks create more efficient products with increasingly self-service or automated apps and platforms, maintaining high service levels while deepening the connection with clients is an ongoing challenge. Many banks have successfully integrated online virtual assistants into their platforms to address this issue. These institutions firmly support social and environmental issues within their franchises. They have contributed significant resources to develop extensive programs providing affordable and sustainable financial solutions in their communities.

Best Banks in North America
United StatesBank of America

Regional Winner

With a consistent focus on exploring how its clients manage their finances, Bank of America (BofA) returns for its third win as Best Bank in North America and also in the US by continuing to develop cutting-edge banking applications for retail and corporate clients, including programs for underserved segments.

BofA recently debuted a powerful digital platform that consolidates five existing apps across banking, investing and retirement services into one. This provides a simplified dashboard view of all client accounts, with access to a full suite of personalized digital offerings based on each client’s financial needs. BofA’s successful rollouts of innovative products have led to an 11% increase in digital interactions in 2023 and strong adoption rates in consumer banking (77%), wealth management (84%) and business clients (75%).

Automation has increased service efficiencies, particularly with Erica, the bank’s virtual financial assistant, which saw activity increase 12% in 2023 to 18 million users. The bank integrated this feature into its commercial application, CashPro, which now resolves 43% of client inquiries for the 40,000 clients using CashPro to manage their treasury operations.

The bank is reaching underserved population segments with effective and targeted programs, including the recently launched Bank of America Breakthrough Lab, an accelerator program for early-stage startups from underrepresented communities. The program provides mentorship, digital expertise and networking access to potential investors. BofA surpassed $500 million in equity commitments to support minority and women entrepreneurs through investments in over 1,000 companies across 40 states. In partnership with the Community Reinvestment Fund, USA, BofA launched its Access to Capital Connector, an online platform which links entrepreneurs and small businesses to business support organizations. Through these initiatives, BofA is the leading small-business lender, with a $43.7 billion loan portfolio supporting 11 million clients.

Meanwhile, in Canada, Scotiabank continues to build on its successful banking platform by introducing new consumer, commercial and wealth management business apps for the North American market.

The bank developed an enterprisewide strategy to accelerate this progress and boost its performance by maximizing capital deployed to improve the scale of its operations, provide high-quality offerings and experiences, simplify its product line across platforms and efficiency, and further develop its workforce.

This strategy includes as a key component building on Scotiabank’s solid digital capabilities and adoption rates. Scotiabank operates Tangerine, where 97% of all sales are done digitally. Active mobile users have increased to 81% of clients, while digital sales represent 51% of total sales.

Seeking to capture more wealth management assets, Scotiabank launched Smart Investor in 2023. This digitally assisted investment platform combines artificial intelligence-generated recommendations and in-person advice for creating and monitoring financial goals. The strong momentum of this program has added CA$13 billion (about $9.5 billion) in assets across 378,000 new accounts.

Additional platforms include Scotiabank’s Developer Portal, which helps business-banking customers access application programming interfaces (APIs) and embed banking and payment services into their own business processes and platforms. Scotia TranXact allows commercial clients to access Scotia’s cash management and payment APIs; while ScotiaRISE is a program for members of underserved communities, which has invested CA$102 million toward a goal of CA$500 million by 2030.