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Upheaval in bank branding heirarchy as top 500 fall US$218 billion in value

Brand Finance plc, in association with The Banker Magazine, today launches the third edition of the BrandFinance® Global Banking 500 – a review of the top financial services brands in the world measured by both brand strength and brand value, as of 31st December 2008.

The overall drop in the top 500’s brand value is US$218.1 billion (down 32%) and the drop in market capitalisation is US$3.9 trillion (down 51%). 209 of the brands present in last year’s study have fallen out of the new 500. Notable exits include the bailed Fannie Mae and the bust Lehman Brothers whilst the salvaged Merrill Lynch (Brand Rating: BBB) and Wachovia (BBB) plummet by 30 and 59 places respectively. The five largest collapsed brands (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, Northern Rock and Bear Stearns) had a combined market capitalisation of US$109 billion and a brand value of US$14.3 billion in last year’s study.

HSBC’s brand value fell 40% to US$25.4 billion in 2009. Benefiting from being a truly global brand with a AAA+ Brand Rating, the geographic split of the ‘World’s Local Bank’ has buffered its exposure to the credit crisis, spreading risk both globally and across all revenue streams.

Of the biggest risers in the league table, emerging market brands of India, South Korea and Turkey dominate. This highlights the global trend where banks from emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China seem less exposed to the global financial crisis than established markets.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance commented:

“The World Bank in January 2008 said ‘resilient emerging markets are cushioning the global economy amid the downturn’. Emerging market brands have significantly outperformed world brands in 2008. Many of the best known developed world banks have died in 2008. Some are walking dead awaiting a silver bullet before they finally go. Governments hold the gun. Strong brands can help some of the zombie brands return from the dead in 2009."

The Banker's editor Brian Caplen said:

"The financial crisis has obviously taken its toll on bank brand values and will make major international institutions focus heavily on their branding. Banks from key emerging markets have fared well and are starting to chase some of the traditional names of banking."

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