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Best Bank

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  • It’s a sign of a well-run bank when it not only survives a pandemic largely unscathed but uses it as an opportunity to gain ground. Characteristically, DBS’s Piyush Gupta not only kept the bank on course but used the crisis to make two potentially transformative acquisitions, launch two new exchanges and think afresh about what banking should look like.
  • It was another strong year for Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), which saw increased provisioning at the start of the pandemic but had good performance throughout and is now well placed to benefit from the post-crisis recovery. Once again it is Euromoney’s choice as Canada’s best bank.
  • Not the biggest but the most profitable. That’s the strategy of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) and it’s one that – with a return on average equity of 28.5% in 2020 – it is clearly achieving among its banking competitors in its home country Nigeria and also across Africa.
  • In a market of more than 5,000 banks, competition in the US is fierce. But among the clutch of sizeable regional banks, one firm has seen a remarkable transition since its IPO in 2014, under the steady leadership of chief executive Bruce Van Saun. Citizens wins the award for the US’s best bank.
  • It was the kind of year when solidity and stability mattered above all else, and Emirates NBD had both of those in spades. Under group chief executive Shayne Nelson, the Dubai-based lender is in pole position to benefit from a post-pandemic recovery, as a region of resource-rich nations, governed by ambitious leaders, seeks to diversify away from oil and gas.
  • A decade of work on reinforcing capital bases, managing bad debts, improving risk management processes and investment in technology paid off for the big regional banking groups in central and eastern Europe (CEE) during the first 12 months of the pandemic.
  • DBS retains the award for Asia’s best bank for its outstanding response to the Covid-19 crisis.
  • When David Vélez, co-founder and chief executive of Nubank, Latin America’s best bank, spoke to Euromoney in January 2021 he acknowledged just how powerful an engine the pandemic had been for the growth in digital banking. The Covid-19 lockdown led to such accelerated growth in new customer segments that the bank is seeing numbers that would have taken months or years to achieve in normal times.
  • Business diversification has proved to be a crucial asset for BNP Paribas over the past year. Relatively intact operations such as fixed income trading have provided vital props to its financial performance compared with local rivals that had made deeper cuts to those businesses pre-Covid. Post-pandemic the bank has become even more important as a financier to its western European clients. It has also moved earlier than other top-tier global banks to burnish its sustainability credentials.
  • JPMorgan was not the only bank that came into the Covid crisis with a strong balance sheet, but, as in 2008, the bank has shown that its diverse business lines and fortress balance sheet are what distinguishes it from the pack.
  • It was not the only bank that came into the Covid crisis with a strong balance sheet, but, as in 2008, the bank has shown that its diverse businesses provide plentiful earnings to take big reserves, even while it keeps financing large corporates and small businesses alike. Deposits have flooded in, technology investments have proved their worth and it is winning more business from mid-cap clients inside and outside the US – and it coped with the temporary absence of a legendary chief executive.
  • Latin America’s best bank this year is BBVA. The Spanish-headquartered bank has long been vulnerable to competitors’ claims that it was more a federation than an integrated network of subsidiaries, but the bank’s most recent performance shows that the management – overseen by Jorge Sáenz-Azcúnaga, head of country monitoring at BBVA – has addressed this weakness.
  • To succeed, you have to be national: for Bill Demchak, chief executive of PNC Financial Services, it’s the mantra that has guided his strategy since taking over the reins of the firm in 2013.
  • Canada’s biggest bank is a regular winner of the award for Canada’s best investment bank, but in 2020 it has clocked up another accolade for the first time since 2004.
  • While it was hard before, the Covid-19 pandemic will make it almost impossible for most European banks to earn their cost of equity any time soon.
  • Banking is evolving in Saudi Arabia – the Gulf’s largest economy – with government and regulatory initiatives boosting growth in the sector.
  • Tight labour markets and low interest rates put a floor under credit demand across central and eastern Europe last year and mitigated the effects on banking sectors of slowing economic growth, regulatory curbs on consumer lending and proliferating sectoral levies.
  • Kenya’s Equity Bank stands out as a modern financial institution, a domestic champion and a regional player. As a result, it receives this year’s award for Africa’s best bank.
  • DBS is a bank at the top of its game. For the second year in a row, it not only wins the best bank in Asia award but canters away with it at high speed.
  • DBS regains the best bank in Asia award it first won three years ago, for showing how innovation, digital vision and creative thinking can not only sound good but also translate into record profits and resilient margins.
  • In recent years, the headlines have been dominated by stories about global banks pulling out of Africa to focus on their businesses back home.
  • Superlatives seem tailor-made for JPMorgan Chase. It is the most profitable bank in the US, with record net income and record revenues in 2018 – a feat repeated in the first quarter of 2019. And its extraordinary overall performance is built on the unshakeable foundation of its US franchise, making it our choice this year as the US’s best bank.
  • Canada has a clutch of big banks that dominate its financial services industry and competition is fierce in most segments. Few are able to compete across the whole spectrum, however. TD Bank is one that can, and the last 12 months marked another successful period for the firm, making it once again Canada’s best bank.
  • Despite the headwinds for region’s banks, there were some outstanding performances that demonstrate what can be achieved without macroeconomic support. The best example of this was Santander Brasil, Latin America’s best bank.
  • It is hard to believe now that four years ago the winner of this year’s best bank for central and eastern Europe, Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), was on the brink of disaster and facing calls to dismantle its regional network.
  • 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.
  • The Singapore-based bank has developed into a business fit for purpose in the modern world. Is this the model for the bank of the future?
  • Almost 10 years into his role as chief executive of Singapore-based DBS, Piyush Gupta has spent the last six of them on a mission to make an institution that looks more like a tech company than a bank. His message and methods are working, as digital disruption shreds costs and creates new revenue streams. Has DBS created the template for how successful banks will need to look in the future?
  • With its successful execution on a new strategy, and high returns on a low-risk model, Credit Suisse is arguably the best-run bank in the world today.
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