THURSDAY 2 FEB 2012 5:04 PM


Despite the loss in value of European bank brands this year, HSBC has come in at the top of the Brand Finance Banking 500, due to its international focus.

The Eurozone sovereign debt crisis took a heavy toll on the European banking sector in 2011, with brand value generated in Europe decreasing by 20%. “It’s an achievement in the last year for bank brand value to even remain static,” comments David Haigh, chief executive of Brand Finance.

Although HSBC is based in Europe, its operations are sufficiently global to have avoided the worst of the crisis. Chris Clark, group head of marketing at HSBC says: “At HSBC, internally, we are hugely optimistic for the future of financial services and bankers need to stand up for the important role that financial services play.”

Claire Fulda is group head of advertising and branding at BNP Paribas which ranked eighth in the Banking 500.  She comments that “the sentiment has progressed from ‘the banks are responsible for the crisis’ to ‘the banks are responsible for all society’s ills,’ so we aim to be the best in category - even if it’s the worst category.”

Ian Ewat, head of products, services and marketing at Coutts, discusses what factors affect the value of a bank brand: “As soon as you ask for trust it’s gone. But I believe it’s got very little to do with trust, it’s all about relevance to the life of the customer. This is something that’s common knowledge and common sense but not common practice.”