Where Are the Safest Banks in the World?

Who would have thought that a civilized government would temporarily blanket-freeze assets at its banks in our modern world? If Cyprus taught us anything, then it is that banks aren’t as safe as we might have previously assumed. Or, as Marketplace put it, “The Cyprus affair is a brutal reminder of the fact that when you ‘save’ your money by putting it in a bank, you’re not really ‘saving’ it at all: You’re lending it.”[1]

So what banks are still safe? What’s being done to keep our deposits safe? The Securities and Exchange Commission is aware of needed change and announced that money funds may face new regulations soon.[2] This month, Global Finance came out with an updated list of the World’s 50 Safest Banks.[3] Five of the safest 50 banks were American banks (BNY Mellon, CoBank ACB, US Bancorp, Northern Trust, and Wells Fargo). The top 10 banks were all European banks. The highest ranking American bank, BNY Mellon, ranked 29th. CoBank ACB placed 32nd, US Bancorp 39th, Northern Trust 41st, and Wells Fargo 47th.

Here is a list of the top ten banks on Global Finance’s list:

  1. KfW (Germany)
  2. Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten (Netherlands)
  3. Zürcher Kantonalbank (Switzerland)
  4. Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank (Germany)
  5. L-Bank (Germany)
  6. Nederlandse Waterschapsbank (Netherlands)
  7. Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (France)
  8. NRW.BANK (Germany)
  9. Banque et Caisse d’Epargne de l’Etat (Luxembourg)
  10. Rabobank (Netherlands)


1 What just happened in Cyprus? An explainer, Marketplace, March 25, 2013.

2 Money Funds Are Likely to Face Rule Changes, New York Times, April 16, 2013.

3 World’s 50 Safest Banks: April 2013, Global Finance, April 2013.