World’s Best Banks 2024—US Regional

Tailored services drive growth.

With a relentless focus on expanding their respective franchises, this year’s winners as best regional banks in the US continue to drive growth in their organizations through various strategies to strengthen their banking model. The ongoing refinement of core banking services continues; however, amid intense competition, banks are increasingly offering specialized services through tailored solutions for their consumer, commercial, and wealth management clients and new products designed for corporate customers operating in specific industries. These initiatives rely on robust technology capabilities, and many banks are modernizing their infrastructure with upgrades to support the rollout of new platforms and banking applications. For many, strategic acquisitions have added branch networks and access to new products and markets, which must be integrated swiftly to capture and retain new customers. All of our winners continue to demonstrate leadership within their communities through many social programs designed to reach underserved segments of the population.

Best Banks US Regional Winners
Far WestUmpqua Bank
Great LakesFifth Third Bank
Mid-AtlanticCitizens Bank
New EnglandCitizens Bank
PlainsBMO Bank
Rocky MountainBMO Bank
SoutheastRegions Bank
SouthwestBMO Bank

Following the merger with Columbia Bank, which closed in March of last year, Umpqua Bank is one of the largest banks in the Northwest. Among the top 30 US banks, it has a 300-branch footprint across eight western states; and it is our winner as Best Bank in the Far West. Operating primarily in the high-growth markets of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and northern California, Umpqua offers a comprehensive suite of products and services for commercial, consumer and small-business customers. These include specialized lending products, treasury management, mortgage banking and wealth management solutions. The bank is leveraging this combination with new digital solutions. As part of the online bank, consumer clients benefit from a chat platform combining human engagement and artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance customer service.

The bank launched a new cloud-based receivables platform for reconciling high volumes of invoiced payments, using machine learning and AI technology, for commercial clients. Umpqua collaborated with a leading health-care technology firm to launch a payment solution to improve operational workflows and systems efficiency for health-care practice customers. The bank’s commitment to social programs includes a community development program involving a pledge of $8.1 billion over five years for affordable home ownership and small-business formation.

Tim Spence, Fifth Third Bank

While Fifth Third Bank is a leading regional bank in retail,  corporate and wealth management, advancements in its treasury management services helped it win the award as best bank in the Great Lakes region. The bank has a competitive advantage in attracting new commercial clients. Newline by Fifth Third provides integrated payment solutions with integrated payment-processing capabilities within business platforms or software systems that companies can use to streamline their payment-processing infrastructure. This represents a high-growth service; and the recent acquisition of Rize Money, an embedded payments platform that serves technology companies, further boosts the bank’s scale and offerings in this segment. Focusing on the health-care industry, Fifth Third has built an enviable franchise in this high-growth sector through its Provide division, which serves independent healthcare practices. Fifth Third’s 2023 acquisition of Big Data Healthcare, a payments company serving physicians and national health systems, further accelerates its innovation and service to this industry. Fifth Third is also making solid progress in wealth management. It has achieved a significant milestone, as the bank’s Wealth Advisors national platform recently exceeded $1 billion in assets under management since its inception less than 18 months earlier.

Through internal initiatives and strategic acquisitions, Citizens Bank is accelerating growth across its franchise and wins as Best Bank in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions. Its expansion in these high-density markets was bolstered by acquiring large branch networks from HSBC and Investors Bancorp, contributing to strong deposit growth in those markets. Citizens holds leading positions in education and merchant finance, in addition to its complete business model, which includes retail, small-business and commercial banking. To accelerate growth in its wealth management segment, the bank launched Citizens Private Bank in the fourth quarter of 2023 with six new offices, including locations in New York and Boston. Current initiatives to improve operational efficiency involve simplifying the organizational structure and boosting automation through generative AI to reduce expenses.

Additionally, Citizens is in the middle of a technology transformation to modernize its infrastructure. As part of the bank’s Next Gen Tech strategy, it plans to migrate its data centers and banking applications to the cloud. Solid environmental, social and governance goals include a sustainable finance target of $50 billion by 2030, a local grant program for renewable energy, and a $500 million pledge in lending to underserved communities.

Darrel Hackett, BMO Financial Group US

With its aggressive expansion in the US, BMO Bank is now a top-10 bank serving four million clients across 32 states. We recognize it as the Best Bank in the Plains, Rocky Mountain, and Southwest regions. BMO in the US is a critical market for parent BMO Canada. The personal and commercial banking segments now account for 37% of group revenue, with additional services in wealth management and capital markets. Much of BMO’s momentum in the US is attributable to its successful conversion, completed in September 2023, of the Bank of the West acquisition earlier that year. This involved integrating two million customers, thousands of employees and hundreds of IT applications. This was the largest conversion in Canadian banking history. BMO continues to advance its technology platform with a solid lineup of digital services. It looks to build on a 62% adoption rate while improving functionality and service offerings on its mobile app.

Regions Bank is deepening customer engagement through specialized financial products and a suite of effective digital offerings to expand its franchise in the Southeast, where it won as our Best Bank in the Southeast. The bank is firmly established with its complete range of consumer and commercial banking products and wealth management services supported by its 1,300-branch network, primarily in the region. With its long tenure and solid banking services, Regions holds a top-five deposit market share in 70% of its footprint and is poised to capture more business, as many of the bank’s markets are forecast to grow faster than the national average while also benefiting from population migration within the footprint.

Regions is very strong in specialized banking, particularly for entrepreneurs and small businesses, with a dedicated team focused on financing solutions for franchise owners. At the same time, the bank’s EnerBank subsidiary caters to contractors by providing financing options that contractors can offer their clients. With intense competition for banking services, client retention is an inherent challenge for the industry. Regions continues to provide effective banking products, a highly recognized mobile app, and personalized financial plans that deepen client relationships, resulting in high customer satisfaction and loyalty. Adoption and utilization of the bank’s attractive digital offerings experienced solid growth during 2023 as active digital users increased by 13% and mobile banking rose by 14%. Digital sales grew by 12%; and 74% of all transactions were done over digital platforms, up from 71%.