How banks are estimated
There are some ratings that estimate banks on the basis of different criteria.
Rating agencies such as Moody’s, Fitch, Standard & Poor’s create their lists of best banks for those who invest in banks’ shares and bonds. They don’t consider customer service, marketing, or other subjective grades of excerpts.
Financial magazines like Global Finance and Forbes also create lists of the best banks. Their idea is to help people choose a bank to open an account or deposit money. While estimating financial institutions, they consider customer services and the subjective grades of the experts.
Global Finance is a leading American finance magazine. When making the list of best banks, it considers their focus on the global market and convenience for international companies and investors.
To create the list, Global Finance experts evaluate the information given by banks and other providers and conduct independent research using both objective and subjective factors. They consider the performance of banks during a certain period, this time during the whole of 2021 and a half of 2022.
First, Global Finance gives each bank a numerical score from 0 to 100, with 100 being a perfect grade. It considers such criteria as:
- knowledge of local conditions and customers’ needs;
- financial strength and safety;
- strategic relationships and governance;
- competitive pricing;
- capital investment;
- innovation in products and services.
When the list is shortened, experts take into account other criteria, like customer service, global coverage, the experience of staff, risk management, range of services, and use of technology.
The best banks in the world, according to the Global Finance
In general, experts in Global Finance favour global and private-sector banks. The idea is to note the most reliable banks for companies and individuals, real estate investors included.
The list of best banks of 2022
|Name of the bank||Region, Country|
|J.P. Morgan||United States|
|Goldman Sachs||United States|
|OTP Bank||Central and Eastern Europe|
|Banco Bradesco||Latin America|
|BAC Credomatic||Central America|
|Banco Popular Dominicano||The Caribbean|
|Arab Bank||Middle East|
|Bank of America||Norths America|
|BMO Harris Bank||US Regional Banks|
DBS was named the World’s Best Bank of 2022. It is a Singapore multinational bank founded in 1968. In 2021, it expanded its presence in China and Taiwan, and now it operates in 19 countries.
The bank is appreciated for its technology-oriented approach, which allows them to upgrade its services and provide its customers with up‑to‑date and proper analytics.
J.P. Morgan won the title of the World’s Best Corporate Bank. It is an American multinational corporation with headquarters located in New York. The bank operates worldwide and is considered one of the largest banking institutions in the United States and the world.
The bank’s clients appreciate it for a one-stop shop approach that allows them to benefit from all necessary services in one place. Among them are lending, banking, investing and consulting from trust and estate specialists.
CaixaBank is considered the World’s Best Consumer Bank. It is based in Valencia and has operating offices in Barcelona and Madrid.
The number of CaixaBank clients is more than 20 million. Around 3 million of them use the CaixaBank online platform daily, and 42% of these people rely on mobile banking. Despite that, CaixaBank chooses to keep its offline branches open, especially those located where it is the only bank.
This bank is one of the earliest adopters of biometrics. ATMs support facial recognition, so transactions like withdrawing money are now possible without touching the machine.
HSBC was awarded the title of the World’s Best Emerging Markets Bank. It was founded in Hong Kong, but its current headquarters is in London, the United Kingdom. In 2021, it focused on its core markets and, thanks to that, managed to generate $18.9 billion profit which is 87% more than the profit from the previous year.
HSBC also acquired Axa Singapore and a significant part of the Indian mutual fund company, L&T Investment Management, and seeks to buy the remaining stake of HSBC Life China.
Société Générale is a French bank that won the title of the World’s Best Frontier Markets Bank. It has operated for more than 160 years and exists in more than 50 countries. Over the past year, the bank’s international retail and corporate banking net income rose to €5 billion and €2.2 billion, respectively.
Now Société Générale collaborates with international partners to improve banking infrastructure in Africa. For example, the bank has introduced online payment offerings in Morocco, web‑based banking in Algeria, and secure host‑to‑host connections via secure file transfer protocol in Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, and other African countries.
BNP Paribas is another French bank that won the World’s Best Transaction Bank award. It has its headquarters in Paris and is present in 57 countries. The bank uses advanced technologies and reengineering processes to increase its efficiency, improve the user experience and provide transparency.
CIBC Mellon is a Canadian company that focuses on the investment servicing needs of Canadian and international investors. It offers various services, including multicurrency accounting, fund administration, pension services, exchange‑traded fund services, securities lending services, foreign exchange processing and settlement, and treasury services.
CIBC Mellon also works with cryptocurrency.
Goldman Sachs won the nomination for Best Investment Bank. It is an American multinational bank and financial services company with its main headquarters in New York. It also has regional ones in London, Warsaw, Bangalore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Dallas and Salt Lake City.
Besides an award for the Best Investment Bank, Goldman Sachs won the Global Best Equity Bank, Best Investment Bank in North America and Best for Technology.
The bank offers services for corporations and individuals: asset and finance management, investing, transaction banking, and others.
Standard Bank is a financial giant with operations in 20 countries, seven overseas markets, and 15 million active clients. It has impressively recovered as it rises to become the top bank on the continent.
OTP Bank, the largest bank in Hungary, which contributed 43% to the adjusted earnings and 45% of assets for the OTP Group in 2021, is the jewel in OTP's portfolio.
Banco Bradesco excelled in the primary market trends of the region and guided its clients in a rapidly evolving global economy by fusing long-established business knowledge with a forward-looking outlook.
BAC Credomatic's strong and diverse presence in the region's leading economies is the key to its success since it enables BAC to give its clients competitive advantages in domestic and international operations.
Banco Popular Dominicano is democratising credit options. Banco Popular's significant investments in digital inclusion also contributed to the success of the national economy. The bank established the Cuenta Digital Libre, a program that enables every Dominican citizen, regardless of income, to settle transactions using Popular's digital channels.
Also, the bank's App Popular passed a million associated clients in 2021, an accomplishment in a nation with a population of over 11 million people and a growth of 52% from the same period in 2020.
Arab Bank launched a mortgage app with financial planning and budgeting capabilities and a virtual retirement planning tool. The bank also offers SMEs extra features, including an online corporate platform for better cash management and payments and a digital onboarding platform for faster account openings in Palestine, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates.
Bank of America has 1,200 financial centres. It is the largest private investor in institutions that finance community development. It has issued its second $2 billion Equality Progress Sustainability bond to encourage funding for underprivileged communities and low-carbon solutions.
BMO Harris Bank is one of the biggest financial institutions with over 600 locations and around 1,300 ATMs spread across Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona, Florida, and California. Based on market share, it is the second‑largest bank in the Chicago area, behind JPMorgan Chase, and the second-largest US branch of a Canadian bank, behind TD Bank.
How second citizenship or a residence permit can help to open a bank account
Generally speaking, it is easier to open a bank account in a country if you are a citizen or resident. Some banks don’t open bank accounts for non-residents or non-citizens at all; others require additional documents such as recommendation letters or different conditions, such as opening two accounts instead of one.
Before opening accounts, banks usually conduct Due Diligence on applicants. This procedure helps them ensure that the investor’s income is legal and that the bank account won’t be used for money laundering. And it is easier to do all the checks if a person lives in the country and pays taxes there.
Sometimes foreigners are also required to interact with banks through local representatives. That makes the whole process of creating a bank account longer and more complicated.
It may be easier to open an account in an international bank if one has a passport or a residence permit in a particular country.
Best banks in the European countries with residency-by-investment programs
The Global Finance magazine also estimated and awarded the best banks in Europe. Foreigners often consider European banks for opening bank accounts. However, it might be challenging to do.
It is possible to obtain a residence permit in some European countries. One of the benefits is an opportunity to open an account in a reliable bank.
The list of leading banks in European countries
|Malta||Bank of Valletta|
|Portugal||Banco Santander Totta|
Credit Andorra is an Andorran bank that was founded in 1949. Its headquarters is located in Andorra la Vella. In 2022, it won several awards: Best Private Bank, Best Digital Bank and Best CSR Bank, according to different sources.
Andorra residence permit can be obtained by investing at least €400,000. There are several options:
- buying real estate or securities;
- investing in a business;
- opening an interest-free deposit.
If an applicant decides to invest in a business or open an interest-free deposit, they still need to buy or rent a property, but there are no requirements for its cost.
Erste Bank is an Austrian bank that serves Central and Eastern Europe and operates in seven countries. It is one of the largest financial institutions in these regions in terms of clients and total assets.
A residence permit in Austria can be obtained by financially independent people. With it, they can live there but not work in the country.
The person who plans to get an Austrian residence permit must have a legal and stable income outside the country, rent or buy housing, and have at least an A1 level of German. To retain residency, one must spend more than 183 days a year in Austria.
There are about 450 residence permit quotas issued each year, and one must apply during the first working days of the year to get higher chances of obtaining residency.
Hellenic Bank is a bank in Cyprus that was founded in 1976 with assistance from Bank of America. Now its headquarters is located in Nicosia, and it has 75 branches.
There are four options to get permanent residence in Cyprus — to invest €300,000+ to the purchase of:
- residential property;
- commercial property;
- shares of Cypriot companies;
Investment can be returned to the investor after obtaining citizenship.
Eurobank is a part of the Eurobank Group that works in several countries: Greece, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Serbia, Bulgaria and the UK. Its headquarters is located in Athens.
A person can get the Greece Golden Visa by investing at least €250,000.
There are several options:
- purchase of real estate — 250,000+;
- renting a hotel or tourist residence for ten years — €250,000+;
- purchase of a land plot for construction or agriculture — €250,000+;
- timeshare for ten years — €250,000+;
- inheriting real estate or receiving it as a gift — €250,000+;
- purchase of securities or opening a bank deposit — €400,000+.
If the investor chooses to buy a property, they can rent it out as well as sell it and return money after five years, when they get permanent residency.
Bank of Valletta is the oldest financial institution in Malta. Its headquarters is located in Santa Venera, and its representative offices work in the UK, Australia, Belgium and Italy.
Two Maltese programs allow investors to get residency: the Malta Global Residence Programme and the Malta Permanent Residence Programme.
Under the Malta Global Residence Programme, the investor buys or rents a property in Malta and pays an administrative fee of €5,500 or €6,000 and an annual tax of at least €15,000. The minimum sum for renting real estate is €8,750+ per annum, and for buying property, it is €220,000+.
Investors don’t need to live in Malta to retain residency obtained under the GRP. However, they cannot spend more than 183 days a year in another country.
Under the Malta Permanent Residence Programme, the investor needs to fulfil several conditions:
- Rent real estate for five years for €10,000+ annually in the south of Malta or the island of Gozo or for €12,000+ in other regions.
- Buy real estate for €300,000+ annually in the south of Malta or the island of Gozo or for €350,000 in other regions. This option is the alternative for rent.
- Pay an administration fee of €40,000.
- Contribute €28,000+ or €58,000+ to the state, depending on whether you buy or rent real estate.
- Donate €2,000 to a non-government organisation.
The main applicant must also have at least €500,000 of assets; €150,000 of them must be liquid financial assets.
Permanent residence is granted for life. However, the cards must be renewed every five years.
Banco Santander Totta is a subsidiary of Banco Santander in Portugal. It was founded in 1988 and is now the largest private bank in the country. Its headquarters is located in Lisbon.
The Portugal Golden Visa can be obtained by investment. There are seven investment options:
- real estate purchase — €280,000+;
- purchase of investment fund units — €500,000+;
- supporting arts and restoring cultural heritage — €250,000+;
- investments in research activities — €500,000+;
- capital transfer — €1,500,000+;
- business investments with the creation of at least five jobs — €500,000+;
- opening a company and creating at least ten jobs.
Most options provide an opportunity to return investment money after several years.
CaixaBank is a Spanish multinational financial institution based in Valencia with operative offices in Madrid and Barcelona. It is the county’s third‑largest lender by market value after Banco Santander and BBVA.
The minimum investment for the Spain Golden Visa is €500,000. This amount is required for a real estate purchase. A property can be rented out and sold to return money after the investor receives permanent residence.
Other investment options include:
- opening a deposit in a Spanish bank — €1,000,000;
- purchase of shares of Spanish companies — €1,000,000;
- purchase of units in investment funds — €1,000,000;
- purchase of government bonds — €2,000,000;
- business investments — the minimum amount is not stated.
UBS is a multinational investment bank that was founded in Switzerland in 1998. Its headquarters are in Zürich. However, it is present in all major financial centres and has offices in over 50 countries.
Switzerland gives investors an opportunity to get its residence permit by paying a lump‑sum tax each year. The amount of the tax is calculated individually and depends on the canton and the family’s expenses in Switzerland and abroad. Usually, it is between ₣450,000 and ₣1,000,000.
An investor must spend at least six months in Switzerland each year to maintain residency.
Sum up: how to choose a reliable bank
- Rating agencies and financial magazines use different indicators for evaluation. Agencies mostly evaluate banks by their financial standing, and magazines also regard customer service, innovation, the number of offices globally and other parameters.
- The Global Finance magazine considered DBS the best bank of 2022. Goldman Sachs got the title of Best Investment Bank, and Caixa bank was stated as Best Consumer Bank.
- It may be essential to examine a bank’s products, know whether there are offices in the countries one spends most of their time in and whether there are innovations that allow one to get up‑to‑date data or better service before turning for the services.
- Before opening an account, banks conduct their Due Diligence to ensure that the applicant’s funds were gained legally. These checks are obligatory in a lot of countries due to the anti‑money laundering legislation.
- Opening a bank account abroad may be easier if one has second citizenship or residency in a particular country.
Frequently Asked Questions
According to the Global Finance magazine research, the world’s best bank is now DBS, with headquarters in Singapore. It offers a wide range of services, including home loans for buying, renovating or managing real estate.
Other banks included in the list of the best banks are J.P. Morgan, CaixaBank, HSBC, Société Générale, BNP Paribas, CIBC Mellon, and Goldman Sachs.
The Global Finance magazine named Goldman Sachs the Best Investment Bank. It is a multinational financial institution with headquarters in New York, London, Warsaw, Tokyo, Hong Kong and other big cities. It offers financial services like real estate investment banking, securities, investment management and consumer banking to corporations, financial institutions, governments and individuals.
Yes, most banks offer opportunities to get a loan for investing in real estate.
It can be harder to get a loan for an investment property than an ordinary mortgage loan, as the first one is considered a higher risk. There are several requirements that you need to meet:
- have a high credit score;
- low debt-to-income ratio;
- high down payment (at least 20%).
If you qualify for all three of them, you’re more likely to get a loan for an investment property in one of the world’s most reliable banks.