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Financial strength is an important attribute for any stock, and for banks in particular.

Global Finance magazine ranks banks around the world in terms of safety. While rising interest rates may be beneficial to some banks -- mostly those focused on lending; and may make life more difficult for others, safety is a good thing to seek either way.

If dividends are important part of your motivation in selecting stocks, then bank safety is all the more important.

In their recent issue, Global Finance provided several lists, one of which was for the 50 safest banks in the world.

Global Finance: World's 50 Safest Banks 2013

"Global Finance's annual ranking of World's 50 Safest Banks has been a recognized and trusted standard of creditworthiness for the entire financial world for more than 20 years. Winners were selected through an evaluation of long-term credit ratings-from Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch-and total assets of the 500 largest banks worldwide."

Of those 50, there were 12 for which stocks are available in U.S. markets. Their rank among the top 50, name, symbol and country of domicile are in this list:

  • 11 TD Bank Group (NYSE:TD) Canada
  • 14 United Overseas Bank (OTCPK:UOVEY) Singapore
  • 15 Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE:RY) Canada
  • 16 National Australia Bank (OTCPK:NABZY) Australia
  • 18 WestPac (NYSE:WBK) Australia
  • 21 Bank of Nova Scotia (NYSE:BNS) Canada
  • 25 HSBC (NYSE:HSC) United Kingdom
  • 28 Bank of Montreal (NYSE:BMO) Canada
  • 41 U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) United States
  • 45 Northern Trust (NASDAQ:NTRS) United States
  • 48 Banco de Chile (NYSE:BCH) Chile

Ten of the banks have insider ownership that is a small fraction of 1%, but United Overseas Bank has over 30% and Banco de Chile has over 97%.

The yield, PEG ratio and ROE for each bank are shown in this table:

The Wright Rating (liquidity, financial strength, profitability, and growth), and the price move required to reach the high, average and low "Street" analyst year ahead price targets are shown in this table.

The number of analysts with Buy, OutPerform, UnderPerform and Sell ratings for each bank; along with the ratio of Buy and OutPerform to Hold, UnderPerform and Sell ratings is shown in this table.


(Click to enlarge)

This author currently owns TD, BNS and USB. The recent dividend history of those three stocks is shown in this chart from YCharts.com. USB was purchased in 2011, and TD and BNS were purchased in 2012.


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Business descriptions from the public side of Yahoo Finance and charts of price, earnings and dividends from the subscription side of CorporateInformation.com are provided below. Text identifying geographic spread and domiciles are in bold for easy scanning of that particular information.

TD

The Toronto-Dominion Bank, together with its subsidiaries, provides financial and banking services in North America and internationally. The company's Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking segment offers various financial products and services to personal and small business customers. It also provides banking solutions through telephone and Internet banking, as well as serves approximately 13 million customers through a network of 1,168 branches and 2,800 automated banking machines in Canada. In addition, this segment offers financing, investment, cash management, and international trade services to medium-sized Canadian businesses; financing options to customers at point-of-sale for automotive and recreational vehicle purchases through its auto dealer network; and credit cards. Its Wealth and Insurance segment offers direct investing, advice, and asset management services to institutional and retail clients; and a range of insurance products, including home, auto, credit protection, travel, life, and health insurance, as well as reinsurance through phone and online. The company's U.S. Personal and Commercial Banking segment provides retail and commercial banking operations in the United States. This segment offers its financial products and services through a network of approximately 1,315 stores located along the east coast from Maine to Florida; telephone, mobile, and Internet banking; and automated banking machines. Its Wholesale Banking segment provides a range of capital markets and investment banking products and services comprising underwriting and distribution of new debt and equity issues, providing advice on strategic acquisitions and divestitures, and meeting the daily trading, funding, and investment needs. This segment serves companies, governments, and institutions in financial markets worldwide. The Toronto-Dominion Bank was founded in 1855 and is headquartered in Toronto, Canada.

UOVEY

United Overseas Bank Limited provides various banking products and services. The company's Group Retail segment offers deposits, loans, investments, credit and debit cards, and insurance products for individuals and small enterprises; wealth management and restricted products, such as structured notes, funds of hedge funds, and insurance plans to the wealthy and affluent customers; and financial and portfolio planning, including investment and asset management, and estate planning to high net worth individuals and accredited investors. Its Group Wholesale segment provides a range of products and services that include current accounts, deposits, lending, asset finance, ship finance, trade finance, structured finance, cash management, and cross-border payments; lead managing and underwriting equity offerings, and corporate advisory services; and solution-based structures to meet financing requirements in structuring, underwriting, and arranging syndicated loans for general corporate needs, leveraged buy-outs, project and structured finance, and underwriting and lead managing bond issues. The company's Global Markets and Investment Management segment offers a range of treasury products and services, such as foreign exchange, money market, fixed income, derivatives, margin trading, futures broking, and gold products; treasury instruments; and banknote services. This segment also engages in asset management and proprietary investment activities; and the management of excess liquidity and capital funds. Its Others segment is involved in property-related activities, travel, and insurance business. As of April 9, 2013, the company had a network of approximately 500 offices in 19 countries and territories in Asia Pacific, Western Europe, and North America. It was formerly known as United Chinese Bank and changed its name to United Overseas Bank Limited in 1965. The company was founded in 1935 and is headquartered in Singapore.

RY

Royal Bank of Canada provides personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor and treasury, and capital markets services worldwide. The company's Personal & Commercial Banking segment provides personal, automotive, and business financial services, as well as cards and payment solutions. Its Wealth Management segment offers investment, trust, banking, credit, and other wealth management solutions to affluent, high net worth, and ultra high net worth clients; and asset management products and services directly to institutional and individual clients, as well as through distribution channels and third-party distributors. The company's Insurance segment provides various life and health insurance, including universal life, term life, critical illness, disability, long-term care insurance, and group benefits; property and casualty insurance comprising home, auto, and travel insurance, as well as wealth accumulation solutions; and reinsurance products through retail insurance branches, field sales representatives, call centers, online network, independent insurance advisors, and travel agencies. Its Investor & Treasury Services segment offers global custody, fund, and pension administration; and a suite of products to institutional investors, as well as cash management, correspondent banking, trade finance, funding, and liquidity management services to financial institutions. The company's Capital Markets segment is involved in the fixed income, foreign exchange, equity sales and trading, repos and secured financing, and commodities businesses, as well as engages in debt and equity origination, mergers and acquisitions advisory services, loan syndication, research, private equity, corporate lending, client securitization, and global credit businesses. This segment serves public and private companies, institutional investors, governments, and central banks. Royal Bank of Canada was founded in 1864 and is headquartered in Toronto, Canada.

NABZY

National Australia Bank Limited, together with its subsidiaries, provides various banking and financial products and services. The company's deposit products include term deposits, transaction accounts, savings accounts, and investment accounts, as well as specialized accounts, such as farm management accounts and foreign currency accounts. Its loan portfolio comprises home loans; personal loans, including car loans and debt consolidated loans; personal overdrafts; and business loans, business overdrafts, invoice finance, vehicle and equipment finance, international and domestic trade finance, and agribusiness loans and finance. In addition, the company offers insurance products consisting of home, car, landlords, travel, mortgage protection, personal loan cover, credit card cover, life, business insurance, asset protection, revenue protection, ownership protection, income protection, employees protection, and agricover insurance; and margin lending, investment funds, superannuation investments, and pensions. Further, it provides business, payment, charge, credit, and access cards; and online trading, financial advisory, online and mobile banking, payments and merchants, and risk management solutions. Additionally, the company offers international banking, investment banking, wealth management, funds management, and trustee and nominee services. It operates approximately 1,750 stores and service centers. The company has operations primarily in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. National Australia Bank Limited is based in Docklands, Australia.

WBK

Westpac Banking Corporation provides various banking and financial services. It offers personal banking products comprising transaction and savings accounts; term deposits; debit and credit cards; home loans; personal loans and overdraft facility; home and contents, life, car, travel, credit and loan repayment, disability and living, and income protection and business overheads insurance; superannuation and retirement products; and investment solutions, including cash rate and managed funds, managed accounts, protected lending, investment loans, wrap products, and alternative investments. The company also provides business banking products consisting of business savings, not-for-profit, agribusiness, and trust accounts; business term deposits; short term and long term finance, equipment finance and leasing, and agribusiness finance; merchant services, including electronic funds transfer point of sale terminals, online payments, and mobile phone payments; business and farm insurance; and international trade solutions comprising foreign exchange, cash flow management, export and import services, and trade finance products. In addition, it offers corporate banking services comprising debt market solutions, including debt capital products, equity issuance and structuring solutions, loans, bonds, structured and asset finance, fixed interest and debt securities, and interest rate derivatives; transaction banking solutions; foreign exchange; investing solutions, consisting of fund management, corporate superannuation, and managed investments; commercial cards; and institutional banking services, such as commodities, carbon, and energy products. As of September 30, 2012, the company operated 1,538 branches primarily in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. The company was formerly known as Bank of New South Wales and changed its name to Westpac Banking Corporation in 1982. Westpac Banking Corporation was founded in 1817 and is headquartered in Sydney, Australia.

BNS

The Bank of Nova Scotia, together with its subsidiaries, provides various personal, commercial, corporate, and investment banking services in Canada and internationally. The company operates through four segments: Canadian Banking, International Banking, Global Wealth Management, and Global Banking and Markets. The Canadian Banking segment provides retail and small business banking products and services, such as debit cards, deposit accounts, credit cards, investments, mortgages, loans, and related creditor insurance products to individuals and small businesses; and commercial banking solutions, including lending, deposit, and cash management solutions to medium and large businesses. This segment offers its products through a network of 1,037 branches and 3,488 automated banking machines ("ABMs") in Canada, as well as through telephone, mobile and Internet banking, and third party channels. The International Banking segment offers retail and commercial banking services to customers located in the Caribbean, Latin America, Central America, and Asia through a network of approximately 2,800 branches and offices, 6,833 ABMs, mobile, Internet and telephone banking, in-store banking kiosks, and specialized sales forces. The Global Wealth Management segment provides wealth management and insurance products and services. The Global Banking and Markets segment offers corporate lending, equity and debt underwriting, and mergers and acquisitions advisory services, as well as capital markets products and services comprising fixed income, derivatives, prime brokerage, securitization, foreign exchange, equity sales, energy and agricultural commodities, precious and base metals, and trading and research services to corporate, government, and institutional investor clients. The Bank of Nova Scotia was founded in 1832 and is headquartered in Toronto, Canada.

HBC

HSBC Holdings plc provides various banking and financial products and services. The company's Retail Banking and Wealth Management business offers a range of personal banking products, including current and savings accounts, mortgages and personal loans, credit cards, debit cards, and local and international payment services; and wealth management services comprising insurance and investment products, and asset management and financial planning services. Its Commercial Banking business provides overdrafts, corporate cards, term and syndicated loans, leveraged financing, acquisition and project finance, and asset finance; trade and receivables finance; payments and cash management services, such as payments and collections, liquidity management, and account services; commercial cards; insurance; foreign exchange products; and debt and equity market products and services. The company's Global Banking and Markets business offers treasury and capital markets services consisting of foreign exchange; currency, interest rate, bond, credit, equity, and other derivatives; government and non-government fixed income and money market instruments; precious metals and exchange-traded futures; equity services; capital markets instruments; securities services, which include custody and clearing services, and funds administration; and financing, advisory, and transaction services. Its Global Private Banking provides a range of private banking, investment management, trust solution, and corporate finance solutions to high net worth individuals and families. The company operates through a network of approximately 6,600 offices in 81 countries and territories in Europe, Hong Kong and other Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, North Africa, North America, and Latin America. HSBC Holdings plc was founded in 1865 and is headquartered in London, the United Kingdom.

BMO

Bank of Montreal, together with its subsidiaries, provides various retail banking, wealth management, and investment banking products and services in North America and internationally. It offers personal banking products and services, including deposit and investment services, mortgages, consumer credit, loans, credit cards, financial planning, insurance, and other banking services to individuals, and small and mid-sized businesses; and commercial banking products and services comprising specialized banking, business accounts and plans, credit cards, business loans and commercial mortgages, cash management, investing, foreign exchange, and financial advisory to small business, medium-sized enterprise, and mid-market banking clients. The company also provides capital raising, investing, advisory, treasury, and research services to corporate, institutional, and government clients; and wealth management products and solutions, including insurance products for mainstream, ultra-high net worth, and institutional client segments. As of October 31, 2012, it maintained approximately 1,570 bank branches in Canada and the United States. The company was founded in 1817 and is headquartered in Montreal, Canada.

BNY

The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation provides various financial products and services worldwide. It operates through Investment Management, Investment Services, and Other segments. The Investment Management segment offers retail, intermediary, and institutional investment management, distribution, and related services. Its products include equity, fixed income, cash, and alternative/overlay products, as well as mutual funds, separate accounts, and annuities. This segment also provides investment management, wealth and estate planning, and private banking solutions to high-net-worth individuals and families, charitable gift programs, endowments and foundations, and related entities. The Investment Services segment offers global custody and fund, securities lending, investment manager outsourcing, performance and risk analytics, alternative investment, securities clearance, collateral management, corporate trust, payment, liquidity, foreign exchange, global clearing and execution, and managed account services. It also provides American and global depositary receipt programs, cash management and global prime brokerage solutions, broker-dealer and alternative investment services, and global payment/working capital solutions. This segment's customers include corporations, public funds, government agencies, foundations, and endowments; global financial institutions, including banks, broker-dealers, asset managers, insurance companies and central banks; and financial intermediaries, independent registered investment advisors, and hedge fund managers. The Other segment offers credit-related services and global markets and institutional banking services; engages in business exits, leasing operations, and corporate treasury activities. The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation was founded in 1784 and is headquartered in New York, New York.

USB

U.S. Bancorp, a financial services holding company, provides a range of financial services in the United States. Its services include lending and depository services, cash management, capital market, and trust and investment management services. The company also engages in credit card services, merchant and ATM processing, mortgage banking, insurance, brokerage, and leasing. Its lending services include traditional credit products, as well as credit card services, leasing, financing and import/export trade, asset-backed lending, agricultural finance, and other products. The company's depository services comprise checking accounts, savings accounts, and time certificate contracts. It also offers ancillary services, such as capital market, treasury management, and receivable lock-box collection services to corporate customers; and a range of asset management and fiduciary services for individuals, estates, foundations, business corporations, and charitable organizations. In addition, the company provides Visa corporate and purchasing card services, and corporate trust services. Additionally, it offers investment and insurance products to the company's customers principally within its markets, and fund processing services to a range of mutual and other funds. As of December 31, 2012, it operated 3,084 banking offices and 5,065 ATMs in the Midwest and west regions of the United States. The company serves individuals, institutional organizations, governmental entities, estates, business corporations, foundations, charitable organizations, and other financial institutions. U.S. Bancorp was founded in 1929 and is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

NTRS

Northern Trust Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides asset servicing, fund administration, asset management, fiduciary, and banking solutions worldwide. Its Corporate and Institutional Services unit provides asset servicing and related services, including cash management, investment risk and performance analytical services, investment operations outsourcing, and transition management and commission recapture, as well as global master trust and custody, trade settlement, and reporting. This unit also offers securities lending, brokerage, banking, and related services to corporate and public retirement funds, foundations, endowments, fund managers, insurance companies, sovereign wealth, and government funds. The company's Personal Financial Services unit offers personal trust, investment management, custody, and philanthropic services; financial consulting; guardianship and estate administration; brokerage services; private and business banking services; and customized products and services. This unit serves high net worth individuals and families, business owners, executives, professionals, retirees, and established privately held businesses. The company also offers active and passive equity and fixed income portfolio management, as well as alternative asset classes, such as private equity and hedge funds of funds; and multi-manager advisory services and products to institutional and individual separately managed accounts, bank common and collective funds, registered investment companies, exchange traded funds, non-U.S. collective investment funds, and unregistered private investment funds. Northern Trust Corporation was founded in 1889 and is based in Chicago, Illinois.

BCH

Banco de Chile provides traditional banking products and specialized financial services to large corporations, small and mid-sized businesses, and individuals in Chile. The company offers various deposit products, including current accounts, demand deposits, savings accounts, and time deposits. Its loan products portfolio comprises installment, residential mortgage, and non-residential mortgage loans; commercial loans, including short and long term loans, working capital loans, and project finance; leasing contracts; factoring and foreign trade loans; and consumer loans, such as installment loans, credit cards, and lines of credit and other loans. The company also offers liquidity management, debt instruments, foreign trade, derivative contracts, and leases, as well as corporate finance solutions; and public and private securities underwriting services, and payment and collection services. It addition, it provides treasury and money markets services, which include currency intermediation services, forward contracts, interest rate swaps, and transactions under repurchase agreements, as well as investment products based on bonds, mortgage finance bonds, and deposits. Further, the company offers securities brokerage, mutual and investment fund management, foreign capital fund management, financial advisory and other investment banking services, securitization services, insurance brokerage services, and direct trade services. As of December 31, 2012, it delivered financial products and services through a distribution network of 434 branches and 1,915 ATMs. Banco de Chile was founded in 1893 and is headquartered in Santiago, Chile. Banco de Chile operates as a subsidiary of LQ Inversiones Financieras S.A.

Disclosure: QVM has positions in TD, BNS, USB as of the creation date of this article (August 30, 2013). We certify that except as cited herein, this is our work product. We received no compensation or other inducement from any party to produce this article, but are compensated retroactively by Seeking Alpha based on readership of this specific article.

Disclaimer: This article provides opinions and information, but does not contain recommendations or personal investment advice to any specific person for any particular purpose. Do your own research or obtain suitable personal advice. You are responsible for your own investment decisions. This article is presented subject to our full disclaimer found on the QVM site available here.

Source: 12 Investable Banks Among The Worlds 50 Safest Banks