CBA named Australia's top bank brand

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has overtaken Australia New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) to become the most valuable brand in banking, according to a survey of Australia’s most valuable brands.

Despite issues around trust and scandals confronting the industry, all the major banks ranked in the top ten of the survey by global consultant Brand Finance, with CBA in the number two spot overall behind Telstra.

The findings revealed a nine per cent increase in brand value helped CBA reclaim its position as Australia’s most valuable banking brand.

ANZ and National Australia Bank ranked third and fourth respectively, while Westpac experienced the greatest drop, falling from fifth position in 2016 to seventh place overall in 2017. Fifty per cent of the top 10 brands in Australia are banks with the millionaires’ factory Macquarie Bank taking tenth spot.

The findings are part of the Brand Finance Global 500 and Australia 100 surveys, which rank brands by monetary value and calculate the most ‘powerful’ brands, as defined by the companies whose enterprise value is most positively impacted by the strength of the brand. The total value of the 100 most valuable Australian brands is nearly $143 billion.

The survey highlighted the resilience of banks in a time of increased public scrutiny on the way banks have managed their businesses. This has already culminated in an annual parliamentary review into the major banks and a number of industry reviews.

However, public perceptions around bank conduct could eventually have an impact on the banks, according to Brand Finance managing director Mark Crowe.

Significant pressures ahead

"The major bank brands have demonstrated significant resilience in recent times. However, it should be noted this year that all the major banks with the exception of NAB have experienced a decline in brand strength," Crowe told AB+F.

"If the decline is not arrested this will invariably put significant pressure on brand value over the next year."

He said the challenge for Australian banks is how to leverage brand strength in terms of market expansion overseas and/or extension into other industries.

The Trump presidency will also effect Australia’s banks but, according to the survey, his presidency could provide an opportunity for the sector.

"Much of the Australian banking sector depends partially on Trump and his agenda. If the President is successful in lifting US GDP growth, the banks would thrive due to large exposure to positively impacted commodity prices," the survey said

Looking at the international research, financial services companies made up 20 per cent of the Global 500 survey in 2017. The brand value of Wells Fargo fell 6 per cent after a turbulent year for the bank, with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China replacing it as the most valuable financial brand in the world. However, Wells Fargo retains its position as the most valuable banking brand in the United States.

Payment service providers Visa and Mastercard’s brand value grew by 81 per cent and 58 per cent respectively as consumers move to an increasingly cashless society and become reliant on the two companies’ services.

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