Regional banks grow steadily
in strong local economies
Focus on building relationships and trust
The BrandZ™ Regional Banks Top
10 increased 1 percent in brand
value compared with a 2 percent
decline in value experienced by
the Global Banks Top 10.
The growth of regional banks resulted
mostly from prominence in their home
markets, as well as some international
expansion, primarily in neighboring
One other factor often differentiated the
regional from the global banks: consumer
trust. Some regional banks tend to be more
trusted because during the global financial
crisis they were less likely to be implicated in
In addition, regional banks with strong
consumer banking businesses may be
more focused than most global banks on
building relationships to serve a broad mix of
customers, not only high-wealth individuals.
Four of the BrandZ™ Regional Banks Top
10 are Chinese. Of the other six banks, two
are based in each of these countries: the US,
Canada and Australia.
impacts China's banks
For some Chinese banks, the regional focus
that had driven growth now inhibited it,
as China's economic expansion slowed.
Related factors that impacted bank
performance included poorly performing
loans and market reforms that lifted the
interest rate ceiling on certain products.
Banks responded with multiple strategies,
such as expanding the focus on wealth
management and developing greater online
presence, often with mobile apps and
partnerships with Internet brands.
Similar to western banks, the Chinese banks
were slower to innovate than the Internet
companies, which aggressively entered
financial services in China. Internet leaders
Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent had investment
products offering higher returns than most
Chinese banks also pursued new initiatives.
Agricultural Bank of China, for example,
continued to expand in major cities to serve
younger clients with high net worth, using
the expertise it gained from its core business
in China's rural communities.
US economy drives
North American banks
The US banks enjoyed the benefit of a
strengthening US economy. Wells Fargo,
with over 8,700 banking outlets throughout
the US, reported record profits. The bank
primarily specializes in retail banking.
As a brand, Wells Fargo continued its
positioning as a large community bank
that advances the commitment to service
signified by its logo of a stagecoach, which
recalls its formation in 1852, during the gold
rush years in San Francisco. Its 2009 merger
with Wachovia helped push Wells Fargo
into the number one rank in the BrandZ™
Regional Banks Top 10.
Based in Minneapolis, US Bank is a regional
bank serving consumers and small
businesses. It also provides commercial
banking nationally and operates in some
international businesses such as payment
Building US networks
TD, a leading Canadian bank, operates more
branches in the US than in Canada. TD grew
in the states by combining with several US
banks, including Commerce Bank in 2009.
TD built a network of around 1,300 locations
along America's east coast, from Maine
to Florida. Calling itself "America's Most
Convenient Bank," the TD bank is known for
customer service, with long banking hours
that include weekends.
Like TD, RBC is a Canadian-based bank.
It derives almost two-thirds of its revenue
from its Canadian operations, with the
balance divided roughly equally between US
and the rest of the world. As part of its effort
to increase its US presence, RBC planned to
buy Los Angeles-based City National, which
operates branches in major US cities and
is known for its high-wealth management
Australia and Asia
Commonwealth Bank of Australia is the
country's largest bank. A robust home
loan business driven by low interest
rates produced a record profit for the
Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Both
Commonwealth Bank of Australia and ANZ
enjoyed substantial growth as Australia's
economy expanded, driven by the
development of natural resources.
Based in Melbourne, ANZ is the largest bank
in New Zealand and one of the largest in
Australia. It operates worldwide in over 30
countries and is especially well positioned in
Asia following its acquisition several years ago
of RBS operations in Taiwan, Singapore, Hong
Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.