Financial branding datapoint of the day

By Felix Salmon
May 19, 2009

As Lance Knobel notes, the methodology behind the annual BrandZ league tables is full of mumbo-jumbo — but that doesn’t mean you can’t make like-for-like comparisons. So here’s last year’s league table for financial institutions, on the left, and this year’s, on the right.


The changes are staggering. Last year, the two most valuable financial brands in the world were Bank of America and Citi; this year, BofA is in 8th place, while Citi’s not even in the top ten any more. Both have lost more than half their brand value in the space of one year. Last year, four of the top five banks were US-based; this year, the top four comprise three Chinese banks and a fourth with the China-centric name of Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. Last year’s top 20 is this year’s top 15, despite the arrival of Visa (with a valuation which is now good for 5th place, but which would have got it only 10th place last year).

In general, the US franchises all took a huge tumble, with Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, and JP Morgan all falling off the league table entirely. The Chinese and Spanish banks did well, the Canadians were mixed, and Standard Chartered (can we call them African? Or at least emerging-market?) entered the league table at 15.

It’ll be very interesting to see how lasting these changes are. I doubt that the three most valuable financial brands in the world are all Chinese, and I do think that the likes of Goldman and JP Morgan are going to reappear, along with UBS and Deutsche. But I also think that Santander is now pretty safely ensconced in the top ten, and I don’t think that Merrill Lynch and Wachovia are going to join BofA and Wells Fargo in the same way that both Chase and JP Morgan appeared on the last last year. Some of the effects of this crisis will turn out to be temporary, but others are most decidedly permanent.

Update: Jake charts the changes.


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standard bank (african) different from standard chartered

Posted by dazedandconfused | Report as abusive

So. Given that the brand is considered as a part of the value of a company in general, does this mean that Ken Lewis has managed to destroy far more value than we might have originally thought?

Posted by Curmudgeon | Report as abusive

The other thought here is how much of the almost 50% devaluation of some financial brands, large or small, is connected to loss of stakeholder trust. A hard to measure attribute that in this next economy should be a comparative index along side the dollar value. Raising capital is one thing, renewing trust is another.

The brands that recognize this is the gap that needs to be addressed though internal culture and external candor will be the ones that move up in next year’s table.

Going from a Bail out to a Stand out icle/going_from_a_bail_out_to_a_stand_ou t/