3 of 5 Most Valuable Global Bank Brands Are Chinese

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In a new ranking of the world’s top banking brands, a China-based bank tops the list for the first time, while two more Chinese bank brands nabbed a spot in the top five and a total of four made the top 10 list.

The top ranked bank brand is Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), a state-owned Chinese bank with a brand value of $47.83 billion in 2016, a 32% improvement compared with 2015’s brand value. Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) was the runner-up with a brand value of $41.62, a 6% year-over-year decline.

A banking brand value report was released Wednesday by branding and strategic consulting firm Brand Finance.

Wells Fargo had been the leading banking brand for the previous four years, but the fake customer account scandal cost it the top ranking in 2016.

All four of China’s top-ranked banks are state-owned. Here’s a list of the top 10, together with their brand value, the year-over-year percentage change and the bank’s brand rating as assigned by Brand Finance.

  1. ICBC: $47.83 billion brand value; up 32%; rating AAA
  2. Wells Fargo: $41.62 billion; down 6%; rating AA+
  3. China Construction Bank: $41.38 billion; up 17%; rating AAA-
  4. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM): $33.74 billion; up 10%; rating AAA-
  5. Bank of China: $31.25 billion; up 13%; rating AAA
  6. Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC): $30.27 billion; up 12%; rating AAA-
  7. Agricultural Bank of China: $28.51 billion; down 12%; rating AA+
  8. Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C): $27.67 billion, up 6%; rating AA+
  9. HSBC Holdings PLC (NYSE: HSBC): $20.69 billion; down 14%; rating AA+
  10. Banco Santander SA (NYSE: SAN): $15.93 billion; up 2%; rating AA+

According to Brand Finance, the impressive values given to Chinese banks are the result of a number of attributes:

  • The first is scale; China’s vast population and the growing prosperity of its citizens create a huge market for its major banks. China’s economy and businesses across all sectors are growing rapidly, expanding both organically and through a strong demand for foreign acquisitions, creating opportunity for its lenders and financial service providers.
  • Foreign M&A activity has significantly accelerated in the last two years, hitting a record high in 2016 Banking 500 Executive Summary with such notable takeovers as ChemChina’s acquisition of Syngenta or Haier Group’s of GE’s home appliance division. …
  • China’s banks look set for further international expansion that should see a further strengthening of their positions …

In addition to the $2.6 billion damage caused to Wells Fargo’s brand value by the fake account scandal, Agricultural Bank of China’s New York City branch also got socked with a sexual harassment claim brought by the bank’s chief compliance officer that cost it nearly $4 billion in brand value. HSBC was caught up in a number of issues related to money laundering and fraud revealed in the Panama Papers that lasted into last year and cost the bank over $4 billion in brand value.