Where do European banks stand in the ranking for strongest brands?

he logo of British bank HSBC is visible on the facade of HSBC France headquarters on the Champs Elysees in Paris, Monday Feb. 9, 2015.
he logo of British bank HSBC is visible on the facade of HSBC France headquarters on the Champs Elysees in Paris, Monday Feb. 9, 2015. Copyright Remy de la Mauviniere/AP
Copyright Remy de la Mauviniere/AP
By Doloresz Katanich
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The world’s most valuable brand owner is Chinese ICBC bank and it is worth more than Slovenia's GDP. Meanwhile, Europeans are behind and Russia's lenders continue to plummet.


Four of the biggest Chinese banks sit on top of the list of the world’s 500 most valuable banking brands, leaving US and European lenders well behind, according to a new report from brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance.

For the eighth consecutive year, the top spot on the world’s top 500 banking brands’ list has been awarded to the ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China). The lender increased its brand value by 3% to $71.8 billion (€65.77 billion), roughly the equivalent of the nominal GDP of Slovenia.

Significance of brand value

The brand represents one of the assets of a bank. However, it is often a highly valued one compared to other assets in its books. 

To judge the monetary value of the name of an institution, Brand Finance took a closer look at the lenders' ability to capture customer attention and preference, and how successfully these lenders could maintain customer trust and meaningful connections with their clients, among others. 

The combined brand value of the 500 banks in the ranking doubled in the last decade, and climbed 2.3% compared to last year, reaching a record level of $1.44 trillion (an amount of money close to Spain’s nominal GDP).

Chinese banks are occupying five places of the top ten, demonstrating a strong recovery compared to the previous year. 

Almost two-thirds of the 74 Chinese lenders on the list increased their brand value over the course of 2023. "Chinese banking brands have strong reserves and can lean on central government support if required," said David Haigh, chairman and CEO of Brand Finance.

The US is the country with the second most banks on the list. The country has seen a small drop in its combined brand value (counting all of the US banks on this list), which stands at $332.2 billion (€304.31 billion). 

Those on the other end of the ranking, experiencing decreases in their lenders overall brand value, were led by Russia (69%), Malaysia  (20%) and Nigeria (14%).

Due to the international sanctions imposed on Russia, the country’s two largest brands, VTB and Sber, saw the biggest fall in the ranking, declining 91% and 63%, respectively. 

European banks are behind

European banks just missed the top ten spots. The largest banking brand in Europe, HSBC, has a brand value of $20 billion (€18.32 billion) and held the 11th spot globally, following two years in 12th position.

The HSBC brand received a boost following the £1 acquisition of the UK subsidiary of the failed Silicon Valley Bank in March 2023 and after it set out plans to grow the new and rebranded entity – which serves the start-up community – in the US, UK, Middle East and Asia.

According to the report, other European banks have also done well. This year saw many countries experience robust combined brand growth, with an overall 3.2% increase in brand value for the whole region. 

France, the Netherlands and Spain have expanded their brand value by around 10% each. 

One of the few success stories came from Spain’s Banco Santander, which took the 13th place in the ranking. The lender managed to increase its brand value by 12% to $18.9 billion (€17.31 billion) following a campaign with sponsorships including one with Ferrari and F1.

Hungary is standing out in the country-by-country success stories, as it managed to increase its overall brand value by the greatest amount among the top 50. 

"A feat accomplished single-handedly by OTP Bank," states the report, adding that the country’s largest commercial bank improved its brand value so much that it moved up 46 places in the ranking to 177th compared to last year. 

Local brands prove stronger than global brands

The report calculated part of the brand value, based on how strong a brand is, looking at how much value the lender is providing. This year, they found that local banks increasingly outshine global players in this field. 


Indonesia’s BCA is ranked the world’s strongest banking brand and regional African players report high scores for brand strength, measured on a scale of 0-100.

The top 10 strongest banking brands in 2024
The top 10 strongest banking brands in 2024Brand Finance

"Our research shows that strong national bank brands are filling the vacuum of customer trust," Haigh said. 

Winning the hearts and minds of customers

As to how banks can improve their brand value in the future, "meaningful connections to build a strong brand is key," Joy Macknight, guest editor at Brand Finance Journal, said in the report. 

Building trust and adding a sense of purpose are among the most important tools. Meanwhile, emerging new technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), could help, if they are used well. 

In an era with AI potentially taking over tasks such as customer support, "the key to success is in seamlessly combining energised employees and cutting-edge technology to deliver relevant services and personalised experiences that actually help customers in the moments that matter," added Macknight.

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