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SINGAPORE'S three local banks - DBS, OCBC and UOB - have emerged as the top 3 Asean bank brands in a global ranking of the top 500 bank brands.
DBS retained its status as the Asean's most valuable banking brand, even though it dropped four places in the global 500 rankings and got pushed out of top 50 banking brands globally.
According to the latest report published by the Global Brand Valuation and Strategy Consulting firm, Brand Finance, UOB fought hard, but failed, to topple rival OCBC, the No 2 most valuable Singapore bank brand.
UOB had a strong and positive brand value growth of 31 per cent amid stiff competition from other Singapore, Asean and global brands and gained 13 places to be ranked as the 66th most valuable bank brand amongst the "Brand Finance Top 100 Global Banking Brands 2017" rankings.
UOB's brand value grew by US$857 million helping them cross the US$ 3.5 billion mark. It appeared to have managed gained "significant" ground over OCBC.
Samir Dixit, managing director of Brand Finance Asia Pacific, said, "DBS seems to be getting stagnated and they need to get out of their "I am a big brand" comfort zone and start to focus on the brand in a more structured manner if they want to remain competitive regionally and globally and continue their brand value growth and raking growth.''
He was surprised at the gains made by UOB in a short span of one year. However, he warned overtaking OCBC would not be easy.
This is because the impact of OCBC's (Bank of Singapore) acquisitions of Barclays and DBS's acquisition of ANZ has not yet been fully factored in their revenues and that will likely widen the gap between UOB and the other two banks again.
"So UOB cannot rest as 2018 will be a more competitive and decisive year for the brand rankings of the 3 Singapore bank brands," he said.
OCBC has been the number two for a long time and is clearly under threat by UOB, at least this year, as evident from the growing brand strength and brand value of UOB. OCBC, however, is a strong AAA rated brand.
Mr Dixit said it would be an interesting space to watch for the next 2-3 years as UOB tries to topple them from their numer 2 position in Singapore and in Asean.
Of the total 36 AAA rated (brand strength rating) bank brands globally, 6 are from Asean, with DBS and OCBC both being AAA rated brands.