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The Middle East's Most Valuable Banking Brands

02 February 2015
This article is more than 9 years old.

QNB Crowned the Middle East’s Most Valuable Banking Brand

  • QNB is the most valuable banking brand in the Middle East and Africa
  • Growing presence & power of brand in Africa helps brand value jump 44%
  • Al-Rajhi remains top in KSA and enters the global top 100
  • Emirates NBD grows brand 40% with award winning marketing
  • NBK is top in Kuwait, now valued at over $1 billion
  • Qatar Islamic Bank is the fastest riser with a 91% increase in value
  • Globally, Chinese banks overtake major western brands
  • Wells Fargo remains the world’s most valuable bank brand

The Brand Finance Banking 500, conducted by leading brand valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance plc, and published in the February edition of The Banker, is a league table of the world’s biggest banks, ranked by their brand value.

QNB is the most valuable banking brands across both the Middle East and Africa. Its brand value is up US$792 million (the greatest increase of any brand in the region) to $2.6 billion. It has overtaken Turkish brands Akbank and IsBank and has entered the top 100 for the first time, ranking 79th globally.

Commenting on the achievement, Yousef Darwish (General Manager, QNB Group Communication) said, “We have come a long way from our Brand Value of approximately QAR 2.5 billion (US$703 million) in 2010 but there is still a great deal of work to be done to achieve our vision of becoming a MEA Icon by 2017. The importance of our brand and how it is perceived by our diverse range of stakeholders is paramount across our domestic and international network of operations and this prestigious accolade from Brand Finance proves that we are making impressive progress”.

Several of Qatar’s other bank brands have performed well too. Commercial Bank and Masraf Al Rayan have both increased their brand value by 47% since the beginning of 2014. Qatar Islamic Bank has experienced the most rapid growth, nearly doubling the value of its brand in a year.

UAE banks are strengthening their position both domestically and in the wider region. HSBC has been eclipsed as the leading bank for syndicate loans in the UAE as native lenders gain favour with locals. Emirates NBD won five categories at the Effie MENA Awards 2014, including one for brand experience, contributing to the growing strength of its brand, which is 40% more valuable than last year. The National Bank of Abu Dhabi was the UAE’s top performer; its brand value increased 76% to almost $1.5bn. It has signed a three year agreement with Real Madrid, harnessing the power of one of the world’s most valuable sports brands, to build its own.

KSA’s Samba Financial Group, Riyad Bank and SABB have all seen their brand values grow strongly at 36%, 53% and 31% respectively. Saudi Investment Bank and Alinma Bank are Saudi Arabia’s top performing banking brands, both have grown their brand values by 65% since 2014. Al-Rajhi remains the country’s most valuable banking brand. A brand value of over $2 billion puts it in the global top 100.

NBK tops the list of Kuwait’s banking brands. 32% growth takes its total to over $1 billion for the first time. Bahrain’s number 1 bank brand, Ahli United Bank, has increased in value by 63%. The brand has benefitted from a disciplined risk management culture and good customer relations.

Brand Finance Chief Executive David High commented, “Home grown names such as QNB, NBK and Emirates NBD are asserting themselves as the bank brands of choice in the Middle East. Some are demonstrating international ambitions that are already leading to rapid expansion not just in their home nations, but across the Middle East, into Africa and beyond. The entry of QNB and Al-Rajhi Bank into the global top 100 for the first time this year suggests the Middle East’s banks are being recognised and rewarded internationally not only for financial success but for the powerful brands they are building.”

Global Results

Wells Fargo remains the world’s most valuable bank brand. Following growth of 15%, its total value stands at $34.9bn. Some other US banks have registered respectable brand value growth such as Citi and Chase (both up 7%) while others such as Bank of America (-4%), Goldman Sachs (-7%) and JP Morgan (-15%) are in the doldrums.

JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon recently expressed concerns that overregulated western banks might be superseded by Chinese brands. Brand Finance’s research would appear to bear that out. ICBC has moved from 6th to 2nd place in the rankings, overtaking HSBC which is now in 3rd globally. China Construction Bank, which has already overtaken HSBC in terms of market capitalisation, has grown its brand by 39% to overtake Citi, BoA and Chase. Spain’s Santander has been pushed to the bottom of the top ten by Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China.

European banks have had an even less successful year than those from the US. Total Spanish bank brand values are down 2%, for the UK the figure is -3%, Italy -5%, Germany -6% and France -19%.

The countries with the fastest growing bank brands are Morocco (+98%), India (+61%), Nigeria (+52%), UAE (+45%), Colombia (+44%), Qatar (+44%), the Philippines (+43%), Saudi Arabia (+40%), China (+29%) and Bahrain (+29%) highlighting the strong performance of the GCC.

Note to Editors

Brand values for 2015 are calculated in USD with a valuation date of 1/1/15. The study has been published annually in the February edition of the Financial Times’ ‘The Banker’ magazine since 2006. Full results can be found on Brand Finance’swebsite or at from February 2nd.

To coincide with the release of the Banker / Brand Finance Banking 500, Brand Finance is hosting an event on February 10th. Speakers include Mark Mullen, chief executive of Atom Bank, David Yates, chief executive of Vocalink, Brian Spoule, chief economist at the IOD and Brian Caplen, editor of The Banker. More information can be found on our events website. To attend please email

Media Contacts

Penny Erricker
Communications Executive
Brand Finance

About Brand Finance

Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Bridging the gap between marketing and finance for more than 25 years, Brand Finance evaluates the strength of brands and quantifies their financial value to help organizations of all kinds make strategic decisions.

Headquartered in London, Brand Finance has offices in over 20 countries, offering services on all continents. Every year, Brand Finance conducts more than 5,000 brand valuations, supported by original market research, and publishes over 100 reports which rank brands across all sectors and countries.

Brand Finance also operates the Global Brand Equity Monitor, conducting original market research annually on over 5,000 brands, surveying more than 150,000 respondents across 38 countries and 31 industry sectors. Combining perceptual data from the Global Brand Equity Monitor with data from its valuation database enables Brand Finance to arm brand leaders with the data and analytics they need to enhance brand and business value.

Brand Finance is a regulated accountancy firm, leading the standardization of the brand valuation industry. Brand Finance was the first to be certified by independent auditors as compliant with both ISO 10668 and ISO 20671 and has received the official endorsement of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) in the United States.

Definition of Brand

Brand is defined as a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs, intended to identify goods, services, or entities, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits.

Brand Strength

Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors. Brand Finance evaluates brand strength in a process compliant with ISO 20671, looking at Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and the impact of those on Business Performance. The data used is derived from Brand Finance’s proprietary market research programme and from publicly available sources.

Each brand is assigned a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score out of 100, which feeds into the brand value calculation. Based on the score, each brand is assigned a corresponding Brand Rating up to AAA+ in a format similar to a credit rating.

Brand Valuation Approach

Brand Finance calculates the values of brands in its rankings using the Royalty Relief approach – a brand valuation method compliant with the industry standards set in ISO 10668. It involves estimating the likely future revenues that are attributable to a brand by calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for its use, to arrive at a ‘brand value’ understood as a net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market.

The steps in this process are as follows:

1 Calculate brand strength using a balanced scorecard of metrics assessing Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and Business Performance. Brand strength is expressed as a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score on a scale of 0 to 100.

2 Determine royalty range for each industry, reflecting the importance of brand to purchasing decisions. In luxury, the maximum percentage is high, while in extractive industry, where goods are often commoditised, it is lower. This is done by reviewing comparable licensing agreements sourced from Brand Finance’s extensive database.

3 Calculate royalty rate. The BSI score is applied to the royalty range to arrive at a royalty rate. For example, if the royalty range in a sector is 0-5% and a brand has a BSI score of 80 out of 100, then an appropriate royalty rate for the use of this brand in the given sector will be 4%.

4 Determine brand-specific revenues by estimating a proportion of parent company revenues attributable to a brand.

5 Determine forecast revenues using a function of historic revenues, equity analyst forecasts, and economic growth rates.

6 Apply the royalty rate to the forecast revenues to derive brand revenues.

7 Discount post-tax brand revenues to a net present value which equals the brand value.


Brand Finance has produced this study with an independent and unbiased analysis. The values derived and opinions presented in this study are based on publicly available information and certain assumptions that Brand Finance used where such data was deficient or unclear. Brand Finance accepts no responsibility and will not be liable in the event that the publicly available information relied upon is subsequently found to be inaccurate. The opinions and financial analysis expressed in the study are not to be construed as providing investment or business advice. Brand Finance does not intend the study to be relied upon for any reason and excludes all liability to any body, government, or organisation.

The data presented in this study form part of Brand Finance's proprietary database, are provided for the benefit of the media, and are not to be used in part or in full for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

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