Only three UK lenders in top 50 safest banks in the world

Barclays, Nationwide Building Society, and HSBC are the only three UK lenders that have appeared on the newest list of the top 50 safest banks in the world.

The latest annual study, from Global Finance magazine, comes as banks have begun to look more unsteady amidst mounting fears in Europe over national debt struggles.  Bank shares tumbled last week in a sell-off that prompted Deutsche bank chief executive, Josef Ackermann, to compare the general feeling to the panic that followed 2008’s collapse of Wall Street giant Lehman Brothers, the precursor to the credit crunch and resultant global economic downturn.

Comparing credit ratings at Fitch, Standard & Poor, and Moody’s, Global Finance examined 500 of the biggest and best business bank account providers worldwide for the study.  Barclays just squeaked in under the wire at 49th place, while Nationwide and HSBC came in at 41st and 16th place respectively.

Surprisingly, Spain-based banking giant Santander, which operates within the UK, rounded out the top ten, and Yorkshire bank and Clydesdale Bank owner National Australia Bank followed on Santander’s heels at 11th place.  No other British banks were placed within the top 50 safest, according to  Global Finance.

The list topper was KfW, a bank owned by the German government, while second and third place went to the French public sector bank Caisse des Depots et Consignations and Dutch banking giant Bank Nederlanse Gemeenten respectively.  Dutch and German banks comprised the majority of the top ten, though Banque et Caisse d’Epargne de l’Etat, a Luxembourg bank, made eighth place.

Nationwide, which was only placed 46th last year, celebrated its move to 41st place, according to a spokesperson for the building society.

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