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Wells Fargo Tops List of World’s Most Valuable Bank Brands

by Melinda Gray

Wells Fargo has been ranked the world’s most valuable bank brand on Brand Finance’s Banking 500 list. The list, compiled annually by leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance, ranks the world’s biggest banks by their brand value. The results, published in the February edition of The Banker magazine, reflect industry trends and indicate future developments.

Most US banks are seeing strong growth due to monetary policy that has driven an economic recovery. Wells Fargo experienced the greatest growth, adding $4.2 billion of brand value to reach a total of over $30 billion. The improved domestic economy has increased revenues, helping Wells Fargo overtake JP Morgan as the world’s most profitable bank.

Additionally, Wells Fargo has made customer service central to its brand. The bank now holds a more favorable reputation with the general public than its competitors, which is reflected in its enhanced brand rating, up to AAA-. Despite the success, Wells Fargo is closely followed by Bank of America and Citi, which have grown their brands by $4.3 billion and $2.8 billion, respectively.

A steady increase in the number of initial public offerings (IPOs) has helped many investment banks, including Goldman Sachs. Last year, there were 222 IPOs- seven times the figure for 2008. Consequently, Goldman has grown its brand value faster than any major bank, up 37% to a total over $10 billion.

The success of America’s top banks is not distributed evenly throughout the list. At a time of wealth polarisation and calls for greater competition in banking, there has actually been a consolidation around the biggest US banking brands. In 2013, the top 10 US banking brands represented 68% of the total value of all US brands in the table; in 2014, that figure is 83%.

“This year’s Brand Finance Banking 500 shows clearly the recovery not just of the US economy, but also the reputation of America’s biggest banks,” said David Haigh, Brand Finance’s chief executive. “Looking forward, banks will be concerned that tapering will restrict the liquidity that has allowed them to rebuild over the last year. However, by focusing on brand and reputation as well as financials, banks such as Wells Fargo will be well placed to prosper QE free.”

The USA’s Most Valuable Banking Brands (Top 20)
Global Rank 2014 Global Rank 2013 Brand Brand Value 2014 (USD millions) Brand Rating 2014 BV Change (%) BV Change (USD m) Brand Value 2013 (USD millions) Brand Rating 2013
1 1 Wells Fargo 30,242 AAA- 16.12% 4198 26,044 AA+
3 4 Bank of
America
26,683 AA+ 19.13% 4285 22,397 AA+
4 5 Citi 24,518 AA+ 13.11% 2841 21,677 AA+
5 2 Chase 23,157 AA+ -1.07% -251 23,408 AAA-
14 15 J.P.
Morgan
14,039 AA 1.91% 264 13,775 AA+
21 28 Goldman
Sachs
10,160 AA+ 36.91% 2739 7,421 AAA-
24 27 Capital
One
9,058 AA+ 21.49% 1602 7,456 AA
26 26 Morgan
Stanley
8,115 AA 7.49% 565 7,549 AA
41 35 U.S.
Bancorp
5,565 AA -14.35% -933 6,497 AA+
50 52 BNY
Mellon
4,607 AA+ 11.40% 472 4,135 AA
51 50 PNC 4,406 AA -3.64% -166 4,572 AA
57 55 Merrill
Lynch
3,804 AA+ 2.73% 101 3,702 AA-
70 70 State
Street
3,145 AA 19.80% 520 2,626 AA+
74 64 BB&T 2,741 AA+ -3.20% -91 2,832 AA+
88 79 SunTrust
Banks
2,187 AA -7.20% -170 2,357 AA-
104 107 Charles
Schwab
1,769 AA 7.16% 118 1,651 AA+
106 100 Fifth Third
Bank
1,748 AA -3.81% -69 1,817 AA
109 122 Banamex 1,679 AAA- 29.85% 386 1,293 AA+
122 125 Raymond
James
1,379 AA 11.68% 144 1,235 AA
124 128 KeyBank 1,341 AA 12.79% 152 1,189 AA-

 

In addition to the success of US banks, western brands in general have shown promising improvements. In Europe, HSBC saw the greatest growth, with a brand value increase of $4 billion. UBS and BNP Paribas followed closely with increases of $3.35 billion and $1.6 billion. Meanwhile, Greece’s total is up over 100% as successful austerity measures have begun to rapidly transform the country’s economic outlook.

The World’s Most Valuable Banking Brands 
Rank 2014 Rank 2013 Brand Domi-
cile
Brand Value 2014 (USD m) Brand Rating 2014 BV Change (%) BV Change (USD m) Brand Value 2013 (USD m) Brand Rating 2013
1 1 Wells Fargo US 30,242 AAA- 16.12% 4198 26,044 AA+
2 3 HSBC UK 26,870 AAA 17.52% 4005 22,865 AAA-
3 4 Bank of
America
US 26,683 AA+ 19.13% 4285 22,397 AA+
4 5 Citi US 24,518 AA+ 13.11% 2841 21,677 AA+
5 2 Chase US 23,157 AA+ -1.07% -251 23,408 AAA-
6 7 ICBC China 22,803 AA+ 15.05% 2984 19,820 AA+
7 9 BNP
Paribas
France 20,206 AAA- 8.79% 1633 18,573 AAA-
8 6 Santander Spain 20,021 AAA- -0.49% -98 20,119 AAA-
9 10 China
Construction
Bank
China 18,954 AA+ 11.83% 2005 16,949 AA
10 11 Agricultural
Bank Of
China
China 17,783 AA+ 11.37% 1816 15,967 AA-

 

Total Bank Brand Value by Country
Country Total Brand Value 2014 (USD millions) Change (%) Change (USD millions) Total Brand Value 2013 (USD millions)
US 193,633 11% 19,195 174,438
CHINA 113,219 20% 18,971 94,248
UK 76,348 18% 11,538 64,810
JAPAN 55,833 60% 20,932 34,901
FRANCE 48,048 14% 5,748 42,299
CANADA 47,249 10% 4,166 43,083
SPAIN 36,096 7% 2,383 33,713
BRAZIL 33,483 -23% -9,753 43,236
GERMANY 32,425 14% 3,867 28,558
AUSTRALIA 29,812 6% 1,799 28,014

 

Notable results from elsewhere in the world include the halting of rapid growth in some BRIC countries, namely Russia, India and Brazil, whose national brand value totals are down 6%, 13% and 23%, respectively. China, however, continues to grow, with its banks adding nearly $19 billion and 3 bank brands ranked in the global top ten.

Click here to see the complete Brand Finance Banking 500 list.

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