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AS many as 19 Indian banks, most of them state-run, have made it to the list of the world’s top 500 financial brands this year, showcasing the resilience of the country’s banking system at a time some of the biggest global names are battling to stay afloat. The latest Top 500 Global Financial Brands 2009, an international ranking of financial brands by value brought out by Brand Finance Plc along with Britain’s The Banker magazine, shows the number of Indian banks in the list tripled last year, from six in 2007. The Brand Finance study used a discounted cash flow (DCF) technique to arrive at a net present value (NPV) of the trademark and associated intellectual property: the brand value.

The biggest gainer from India was HDFC Bank, whose brand value rose by $243 million to $611 million. The bank’s position in the league table jumped to 151 in 2008 from 236 in 2007. Axis Bank moved up 112 rungs to the 267th position in the list while Kotak Mahindra Bank took the 278th position in 2008, up 40 ranks over the previous year.

Interestingly, all the 13 new entrants in the league table from India are government-run banks. They include Punjab National Bank, Bank of India, Canara Bank, Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Indian Bank, Power Finance Corporation, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Syndicate Bank and three associate banks of the State Bank of India—State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur. Power Finance Corporation was the only non-banking financial services brand from India and occupied the 459th rank with a brand value of $91 million.

Financial services brands from South Korea and Turkey were the next biggest gainers after India in the league table, further highlighting that banks from emerging markets are less exposed to the global financial crisis than those in the developed markets. “Emerging market brands have significantly outperformed world brands in 2008. Many of the best-known developed world banks have died in 2008. Some are walking dead awaiting a silver bullet before they finally go. Governments hold the gun,” said Brand Finance CEO David Haigh.

The list also offers a peek into the magnitude of the bloodletting in the global financial markets. The brand value of the top 500 names overall fell by $218.1 billion, down 32% from 2007 levels. The financial sector has seen around $3.9 trillion of its market value shaved off during 2008, down 51% from year-ago levels.

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