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Western Europe's best bank 2019: KBC

Awards for Excellence 2019

Despite the talk of how poorly European banks are performing compared with the Americans – and the relative environment has indeed got worse over last year – there are some banks in the region that can match and even beat those in the US in terms of their business models and financial results.

Western Europe’s best bank, KBC, is the foremost of this small group of European banks and performance of the firm led by chief executive Johan Thijs would be impressive in any region and any industry. 

The bank’s return on equity has been in the high teens for each of the last three years, a level almost unheard of elsewhere in Europe. Understandably, it trades at the region’s highest stock valuation, 1.5 times book value, and beats most US banks on this measure, according to Berenberg.

What is most impressive is how sustained its strong financial performance has been this decade, as steadily rising net income has allowed it to outperform most banks around the world in terms of longer-term shareholder returns.