Bank Rakyat Indonesia’s strong showing across the best-performing categories have helped the bank top the overall performance chart. Kimberley Long reports. 

The mixed outcomes from the Covid-19 pandemic are still playing out across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region. The countries that have been able to resume activity across tourism and trade are showing signs of recovery, with the corresponding banking sector uplift. 

In The Banker’s Top 30 Asean Banks ranking, Singapore’s banks have again held onto the top spots. Recent months have shown significant activity for first and second ranked DBS and United Overseas Bank, with the banks taking over much of Citi’s business across south-east Asia, as the US bank seeks to retrench from the region. Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation has rounded out the top three for another consecutive year. However, the banks do not perform as strongly in the best-performing categories. None of the three Singaporean banks make it into the overall best-performing table, although they occupy the top three places in the asset quality category. 

Indonesia’s banks have had a solid year, with Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI), Bank of Central Asia and Bank Mandiri all improving their positions within the top 10 of the ranking. BRI rose to fourth place thanks to a 39.5% jump in Tier 1 capital. The bank, which saw Fitch reaffirm its BBB- rating at the beginning of 2021, is crowned the best-performing bank in the region for 2022, and took top spots in the soundness and leverage categories. Additionally, four other Indonesian banks placed within the top 10 overall best-performing table, indicating a strong performance across the country’s banking sector. Looking further down the Top 30 Asean Banks ranking, Bank Negara Indonesia rose one place to 14th with a 17.8% increase in Tier 1 capital. It also saw a sharp increase in pre-tax profits of 142.7%.  

Vietnam’s banks held onto their positions, still grouped just outside of the top 20 despite recording impressive increases in Tier 1 capital. Vietnam Prosperity Bank saw its Tier 1 capital increase 48.4%, by far the best result among the 30 banks. Meanwhile, Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank, or Techcombank, took second in the overall best-performing table, and ranked in all of the other categories, except for liquidity. Vietnam Prosperity Bank also performed well, placing in four of the best-performing categories, including top place for operational efficiency. As a result, the bank took third spot in the overall best-performing table. Vietnam saw strong gross domestic product (GDP) results throughout the pandemic, with modest increases even as its neighbours struggled, and the International Monetary Fund has forecast the country’s economy will grow by 6% during 2022. 

One of the most interesting results in the rankings comes from Philippine National Bank, which placed last in the Tier 1 ranking, falling from 25th place last year, as a result of its Tier 1 capital dropping by 14.5%. However, its pre-tax profits surged by more than 4000%, resulting in the bank taking top place for profitability in the best-performing tables. It also placed first in the return on risk category, in the top 10 for leverage and came eighth in the overall table. During 2021 the bank worked to improve its operations, including boosting its core operating income through the properties-for-share swap completed with PNB Holdings, one of a series of steps taken by the bank with the aim of monetising the value of its low-earnings assets. 

More broadly, the Philippines banks stayed in relatively the same positions as last year. The country’s highest ranked bank, BDO Unibank, fell one place to 15th with a 2.0% increase in Tier 1 capital. China Banking Corporation, which came in 29th place with a 8.9% rise in Tier 1 capital, saw good results in the best-performing tables, taking a place in three of the categories and coming in 10th place on the overall list. 

Elsewhere, Thailand’s banks have had a difficult year. Bangkok Bank, Kasikornbank and Siam Commercial Bank all slipped down places but managed to stay in the top 10 by Tier 1. Both Bangkok Bank and Siam Commercial Bank recorded drops of more than 4%, while Kasikornbank saw a slight 0.6% rise. Thailand has been hit by a muted tourist sector recovery since the pandemic, and the Thai baht’s rate against the dollar has declined. The unsettled climate is reflected in the banks’ showing in the best-performing tables, where the six banks make sporadic appearances. Government Savings Bank, which jumped into the ranking at 20th (even with a 5.6% decline in Tier 1 capital), made it into the top 10 tables for operational efficiency and return on risk. 

Maybank was Malaysia’s only bank to make it into the top 10 exclusive club by Tier 1, falling one place to fifth after recording just 0.9% growth. However, the bank did not manage to rank at all within the best-performing categories. Several other banks from Malaysia did get a mention, most notably in the asset quality category where they occupy four places.

Overall, the Malaysian banks saw a slow growth or a decline in Tier 1 capital with the exception of Hong Leong Bank, which recorded a 11.6% increase. The bank has seen robust growth as it has overhauled its strategic priorities, with a new focus on its cost management structure. It also refocused on investments and its loan portfolio. These changes have helped the bank place in three of the best-performing categories and take ninth place in the overall top 10.

Malaysia has seen its economic fortunes improve in recent months, which may help the country to recover from the worst effects of the Covid-19 pandemic that had caused GDP to decline. 


The Banker’s global and regional rankings are industry-standard measures of bank size by Tier 1 capital. While the current rankings include some additional data to give an overall impression of bank performance, they use only a fraction of the very detailed analysis undertaken by our research team.

Knowing which bank is biggest, or has grown fastest, is useful; but what people really want to know is which bank is the best performer.

We have developed a model that scores and ranks banks in eight key performance categories, using 17 ratios, and assigns an overall best-performing bank score and ranking.

The key requirement of the model was that it could be used to identify the best performers in any sample group, be it an existing global, regional or country ranking or custom peer group such as global systemically important banks.

The model only uses performance ratios, and year-on-year percentages and basis points changes, so the size of a bank has no influence on its best bank ranking position.

The performance categories and indicators are:

  1. Growth — Annual percentage growth in assets, loans, deposits and operating income.
  2. Profitability — Return on assets, return on equity, profit margin, asset utilisation (and annual basis points [bps] change in these ratios).
  3. Operational efficiency — Cost-to-income ratio (and annual bps change in these ratios).
  4. Asset quality — Allowance for loan losses to gross total loans, loans, impairment charges to total operating income (and annual bps change in these ratios).
  5. Return on risk — Return on risk-weighted assets (and annual bps change in this ratio).
  6. Liquidity — Loans-to-assets and loans-to-deposits ratios (and annual bps change in these ratios).
  7. Soundness — Capital assets ratio (and annual bps change in this ratio).
  8. Leverage — Total liabilities to total assets (and annual bps change in this ratio).

When the peer group data is imported, the model assigns a score for each indicator based on the relative distribution of values. Thus, a bank that significantly outperforms on a particular indicator will receive a proportionately higher score. The maximum possible score for each category is 10 points and the maximum overall score is 80 points.

The model is neutrally weighted so that the underlying ratios and annual bps changes are of equal significance. Each performance category receives equal weighting. We plan to produce an online version of the benchmarking tool, which will allow users to assign data point and category weights according to their own preferences.


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