A Fresh Stab at Ranking Financial Brands

Here are the results from the latest effort to determine which financial institutions have the strongest brands, this one from Bancography.

Banks with assets > $30 billion

  1. Wells Fargo Bank, MN
  2. U.S. Bank, MN
  3. The Northern Trust Company, IL
  4. Union Bank of California, CA
  5. PNC Bank, PA
  6. Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company, NY
  7. Comerica Bank, TX
  8. Bank of America, NC
  9. Branch Banking and Trust Company, NC
  10. JPMorgan Chase Bank, NY

Banks with assets $2-30 billion

  1. Woodforest National Bank, TX
  2. Westamerica Bank, CA
  3. City National Bank, CA
  4. City National Bank of West Virginia, WV
  5. Nevada State Bank, NV
  6. First Interstate Bank, MT
  7. S&T Bank, PA
  8. The Frost National Bank, TX
  9. Commerce Bank, MO
  10. Amarillo National Bank, TX

Credit unions with assets > $1 billion

  1. Mountain America, UT
  2. Arrowhead Central, CA
  3. J. S. C., TX
  4. University of Wisconsin, WI
  5. Police & Fire, PA
  6. GECU, TX
  7. Chevron, CA
  8. Tinker, OK
  9. MidFlorida, FL
  10. OnPoint Community, OR
  11. Community First, WI
  12. Security Service, TX
  13. Members 1st, PA
  14. Boeing Employees, WA
  15. Lake Michigan, MI
  16. Alaska USA, AK
  17. Affinity Plus, MN
  18. Indiana Members, IN
  19. Apco Employees, AL
  20. Keesler, MS
  21. Redwood, CA
  22. Randolph-Brooks, TX
  23. Affinity, NJ
  24. America First, UT
  25. Veridian, IA

Credit unions with assets < $1 billion

  1. ASI, LA
  2. Trona Valley Community, WY
  3. First Community CU of Houston, TX
  4. White Sands, NM
  5. Pelican State, LA
  6. Utah Central, UT
  7. Water and Power Community, CA
  8. Golden Plains, KS
  9. Midland Community, TX
  10. Complex Community, TX
  11. American Heritage, PA
  12. Bull’s Eye, WI
  13. Valero, TX
  14. I.L.W.U., CA
  15. America’s Credit Union, WA
  16. Justice, VA
  17. United Heritage, TX
  18. EECU, TX
  19. Navy Army, TX
  20. Town and Country, ND
  21. Austin Telco, TX
  22. Neighborhood, TX
  23. Idaho Central, ID
  24. Actors, NY
  25. Service 1st, PA

According to Bancography, this is how they calculated their rankings.

“Bancography quantified the proportion of each institution’s long term value that is attributable to the intangible factors that constitute an institution’s brand. These factors include the institution’s reputation, service quality, image and market awareness. The brand value index identifies institutions that produce financial results beyond what their capital base, market conditions, and competitive environments would predict.”

Key Question: How did they measure reputation? Service quality? Image? Market awareness?

It looks like they did a lot less measurement of intangibles like feelings, perceptions and emotions, and did a lot more mathematical number crunching. Bancography illustrates its system in the following graph:

“Institutions are ranked by brand premium,” Bancography explains. “The proportion of value that the institution’s brand adds to its book value. The red dots show absolute brand value.”

“In the banking industry, product offerings are often very similar, so it is paramount for financial institutions to build differentiating brands.”
– John Mathes, Bancography
Director of Brand Strategy

Translation? Basically, it sounds like they compared each financial institution’s financial performance with some sort of industry average to generate a “multiple.” Bancography says this multiple is based on balance sheet income, variability in earnings and varying market conditions. They excluded one-time windfalls like the Visa dividend and other extraordinary gains.

Reality Check: This system assumes that “brand” is the cause of any above- or below-average results without providing any correlating evidence, nor does it factor in many other variables.

Bancography is using this study to draw attention to its recently launched Brand Strategy arm. Bancography, a company better known for helping financial institutions locate their branches, did not have a Brand Strategy section on its website last fall.

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