World’s Best Banks 2020: Who’s Most Prepared To Weather The Storm?

Global Finance’s 27th annual awards for the World’s Best Banks honor winners in more than 150 countries and seven global regions, as well as eight regions in the US.

The coming year is certain to be challenging for banks worldwide. Economic setbacks stemming from the Covid-19 crisis could prompt them to take a closer look at credit quality and tighten lending standards to contain nonperforming loans in hard-hit sectors. Meanwhile, low and negative interest rates and yield-curve inversions, a product in part of central banks’ efforts to contain the economic fallout, are challenging bank profitability. And societal concerns about such issues as climate change and banks’ commitment to socially responsible policies have come to the fore.

Even before the novel coronavirus fastened its grip, Deloitte’s 2020 banking industry outlook predicted that banks would be forced to set new social priorities and sacrifice short-term gains for long-term sustainability. “The low-growth scenario, in particular, could result in a drastic reduction in banking capacity, with fewer banks than we have today able to recover their cost of equity,” according to the December 2019 report.

The health crisis only worsens an already problematic situation. “Borrowers’ cash flow will come under increasing pressure over the second half of 2020 as the global spread of the coronavirus materially slows economic activity,” says Olivier Panis, head of Financial Institutions at Moody’s Investors Service in Paris. “Increased credit spreads, distorted capital markets and lower capital liquidity in some banking systems could prompt borrowers to increase their drawdowns of available bank credit facilities, which in turn will put pressure on liquidity ratios.”

The good news is that despite their exposures, the biggest global investment banks have good levels of high-quality liquid assets available to cover borrowers’ needs as they accelerate their drawdown rates, Panis adds.

But banks face other problems. In March, Fitch Ratings downgraded its outlook for US banks from stable to negative, predicting that the Federal Reserve’s decision to cut interest rates to near zero “will adversely affect spread revenue for a number of quarters, while fee income will be hampered from low levels of client activity.” Many central banks around the world have followed the Fed with rate cuts of their own.

Despite the squeeze on their profits, commercial banks in many countries cut fees and eased repayment requirements, often at the urging of their central banks, to help manage the crisis.

No one is spared when a crisis of this magnitude unfolds, but those that display solid fundamentals stand a better chance of making it through this difficult period in a healthy and competitive state. The winners of Global Finance’s Best Bank Awards are financial institutions that best display these qualities. 


Global Finance editors, with input from industry analysts, corporate executives and technology experts, selects the winners for the Best Bank Awards using entries provided by banks and other providers, as well as independent research based on a set of objective and subjective factors. It is not 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 provide details and insights that may not be readily available to the editors.

Judgments were based on performance over the period from January 1 to December 31, 2019. We applied an algorithm to shorten the list of contenders and arrived at a numerical score, with 100 equivalent to perfection. The proprietary algorithm incorporates criteria—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—weighted for relative importance.

Once we have narrowed the field, our final criteria include scope of global coverage, size of staff, customer service, risk management, range of products and services, execution skills and smart 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 privately owned banks over government-owned institutions. The winners are those banks that best serve the specialized needs of corporations as they engage in global business. The winners are not always the biggest, but rather the best: those with qualities that companies should look for when choosing a provider.


Regional Winners

North America Bank of America
Latin America Santander
Western Europe CaixaBank
Central & Eastern Europe Raiffeisen Bank International
Asia-Pacific DBS
Middle East Arab Bank
Africa Standard Bank

North America Winners

Bermuda Butterfield Bank
Canada Royal Bank of Canada
United States Bank of America

Latin America Winners

Argentina Banco Marco
Bahamas Scotiabank Bahamas
Barbados RBC Royal Bank
Belize Belize Bank
Bolivia Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz
Brazil Banco Bradesco
Cayman Islands Cayman National Bank
Chile Banco de Chile
Colombia Banco de Bogotá
Costa Rica BAC Credomatic
Dominican Republic Banreservas
Ecuador Produbanco
El Salvador Banco Cuscatlán
Guatemala Banco Industrial
Honduras Banco Atlántida
Jamaica National Commercial Bank
Mexico BBVA Bancomer
Nicaragua Banco LAFISE Bancentro
Panama Banco General
Paraguay Banco Itaú Paraguay
Peru BBVA Peru
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

Andorra Credit Andorra
Austria BAWAG Group
Belgium BNP Paribas
Cyprus Hellenic Bank
Denmark Nordea
Finland Nordea
France Credit Mutuel
Germany DZ Bank
Greece Eurobank Ergasias
Iceland Landsbankinn
Ireland Allied Irish Bank
Italy Unicredit
Liechenstein LLB
Luxembourg BCEE
Malta HSBC
Monaco CFM Indosuez Wealth
Netherlands ING
Norway DNB
Portugal Banco Santander Totta
Spain CaixaBank
Sweden SEB
Switzerland Credit Suisse
UK Barclays

Central & Eastern Europe Winners

Albania Banka Kombetare Tregtare
Armenia Ardshinbank
Belarus Belarusbank
Bosnia & Hercegovina UniCredit
Bulgaria UniCredit Bulbank
Croatia Raiffeisenbank
Czech Republic CSOB
Estonia SEB Pank
Georgia TBC Pank
Hungary OTP Bank
Kosovo TEB Bank
Latvia SEB banka Latvia
Lithuania Sialiu Bankas
Moldova Moldova Agroindbank
Montenegro CKB
North Macedonia Ohridska Banka
Poland PKO Polski
Romania Banca Transilvania
Russia Alfa-Bank
Serbia Banca Intesa Beograd
Slovakia Slovenska Sporitelna
Slovenia SKB Banka
Turkey Akbank
Ukraine Raiffeisen Bank Aval

Asia-Pacific Winners

Afghanistan Ghazanfar Bank
Australia Commonwealth Bank
Azerbaijan International Bank of Azerbaijan
Bangladesh Prime Bank
Brunei Darussalam Baiduri Bank
Cambodia ABA Bank
China ICBC
Hong Kong The Bank of East Asia
India State Bank of India
Indonesia Bank Mandiri
Japan SMBC
Kazakhstan ForteBank
Kyrgyzstan Optima Bank
Macau ICBC Macau
Malaysia Maybank
Mongolia Khan Bank
Myanmar CB Bank
Nepal Rastriya Banijya
New Zealand Westpac New Zealand
Pakistan Habib Bank
Philippines BDO Unibank
Singapore DBS
South Korea Hana Bank
Sri Lanka Commercial Bank of Ceylon
Taiwan E.Sun
Thailand Bangkok Bank
Uzbekistan Asia Alliance Bank
Vietnam MSB

Middle East Winners

Bahrain Ahli United Bank
Egypt Commercial International Bank
Iraq Trade Bank of Iraq
Israel Bank Hapoalim
Jordan Arab Bank
Kuwait National Bank of Kuwait
Lebanon BLOM Bank
Oman Bank Muscat
Palestine Bank of Palestine
Qatar Qatar National Bank
Saudi Arabia SABB
United Arab Emirates First Abu Dhabi Bank
Yemen Arab Bank Yemen

Africa Winners

Algeria Societe Generale Algerie
Angola Banco de Fomento Angola
Benin Banque Atlantique
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
Gambia Ecobank Gambia
Ghana Fidelity Bank Ghana
Guinea Societe Generale de Banques en Guinée
Kenya KCB Bank Kenya
Madagascar BNI Madagascar
Malawi National Bank of Malawi
Mali Ecobank Mali
Mauritius SBM Bank
Morocco Attijariwafa Bank
Mozambique Millennium bim
Namibia First National Bank of Namibia
Nigeria Zenith Bank
Rwanda I&M Bank Rwanda
Senegal Societe Generale Senegal
Sierra Leone Union Trust Bank
South Africa Standard Bank
Sudan Omdurman National Bank
Tanzania CRDB Bank
Togo Ecobank Togo
Tunisia Amen Bank
Uganda Stanbic Bank Uganda
Zambia Zambia National Commercial Bank
Zimbabwe CBZ Bank

US Regional Winners

Far West Union Bank
Great Lakes US Bancorp
Mid-Atlantic Citizens Bank
New England Citizens Bank
Plains US Bancorp
Rocky Mountain Zions Bancorp
Southeast Trust Corp. (formerly SunTrust)
Southwest US Bancorp