Last updated January 11th, 2024.
Banks in Asia are ranked among the world’s safest. In fact, they’re far better-capitalized than their counterparts in the US.
Yet this wasn’t always true. Not long ago, Switzerland and Liechtenstein were considered the “gold standard” of countries to hold money offshore. Recent events, along with Asia’s rise, have lured capital elsewhere, though.
As such, investors from around the world are looking toward places like Singapore and South Korea to store their assets.
Wealthy investors aren’t just pivoting to Asia because of its superior banks; they’re also to diversify their portfolios and hold different currencies.
The Singapore dollar, Korean won, and even a few exotic currencies, including the Thai baht, have significantly outperformed a majority of currencies in the world.
Denominating your assets in terms of an appreciating currency is simply a bonus on top of storing money in a stronger bank.
Keeping that in mind, here are the top ten banks in Asia, ranked in terms of their ability to protect customer deposits and provide reliable services.
With this list, we hope it helps you make an informed decision when it comes to diversifying your wealth internationally.
DBS Bank is the safest bank in Asia. For over a decade, it has been consistently ranked as the continent’s most secure and reliable financial institution.
As a leading financial services provider, DBS offers its customers a wide range of products and services, including savings accounts, credit cards, loans, investments, and more.
The bank also provides an online banking platform that allows customers to manage their finances securely from anywhere in the world.
With its robust security measures and customer-friendly policies, DBS Bank is a top choice for anyone looking for a safe and reliable banking experience in Asia.
Foreign, non-residents of Singapore can open a bank account at DBS with a minimum deposit of S$350,000 in most circumstances.
Singapore, Asia’s de-facto financial center, continues to take market share from its competitors. Family offices, UHNIs, and multinational firms alike are moving their assets here.
A leading financial services provider in Singapore and Southeast Asia, OCBC is the second largest bank in Singapore by total assets and one of the world’s most highly rated banks.
OCBC Bank has provided world-class banking services since 1932, when it was founded as the Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation Limited.
Today, it offers a wide range of products and services, including retail banking, wealth management, corporate banking, investment banking, and insurance. The bank also operates branches in Malaysia, Indonesia and China.
OCBC provides innovative solutions for its customers through digital technology, such as an AI-driven chatbot. With its strong presence in Singapore and Southeast Asia, OCBC is well-positioned for many years to come.
If you’re a foreigner without a long-term visa, OCBC usually lets people open an account with a minimum S$200,000 deposit.
United Overseas Bank (UOB)
UOB is a premier banking institution in Singapore, serving customers with diverse financial services and products.
Founded in 1935, UOB has become a major player in the banking industry, with over 500 branches across 18 countries and territories. UOB provides customers with a variety of banking solutions, such as personal loans, credit cards, savings accounts, investments, and insurance plans.
It also offers online banking services for customers who prefer to manage their finances online. UOB strives to provide its customers with the best service possible by leveraging technology and innovation to simplify banking processes.
You can generally open a UOB Wealth account as a non-resident, assuming you make a minimum deposit of S$100,000.
Now that the “Lion City’s” major banks have officially cleared the top 3 spots on our list, here’s an article about how you can open a bank account in Singapore as a foreigner.
Korea Development Bank
Established in 1954, the Korea Development Bank (KDB) is a government-owned financial institution that offers various services to governmental organizations and corporations in South Korea.
It was established in 1954 as the first development bank in South Korea, and since then, it has provided loans and other financial services to support the country’s economic growth.
The bank also offers foreign exchange services, credit rating, venture capital investments, and other corporate finance activities.
With its strong presence in both domestic and international markets, KDB has become an essential part of South Korea’s economic landscape.
Export-Import Bank of Korea
The Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) is a government-funded financial institution that provides export credit guarantees, loans, and other services to support the global trade of Korean companies.
It was established in 1976 to help Korean exporters and importers finance their trade. KEXIM offers a wide range of services, such as export credit guarantees, loans for overseas investment, foreign currency loans for overseas investment, and more.
KEXIM also provides financial advice to companies looking to expand their business abroad. Its mission is to promote the development of international trade and foreign investments in Korea through its various services.
Asia’s best banks aren’t only safer than their counterparts in the US and Europe. In many cases, their local currencies have also gained ground. Here’s a 15-year chart of the Euro compared to the Korean Won, the latter which appreciated heavily.
Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK)
The Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) is a leading financial institution in South Korea. It was established in 1954 and has since grown to become one of the largest commercial banks in the country.
IBK provides various services, such as retail banking, corporate banking, investment banking, asset management, and insurance.
In addition to its domestic operations, IBK also has overseas branches in China, Vietnam, Japan, the United States, and other countries. IBK is also actively involved in philanthropic activities and is committed to contributing to South Korea’s economic development.
Hang Seng Bank
Hang Seng Bank is one of the largest banks in Hong Kong. Founded in 1933, it has been providing banking services to individuals and businesses for over 85 years.
It offers many services, such as deposit accounts, loans, mortgages, investment products, insurance, and credit cards. Hang Seng Bank also provides online and mobile banking services that allow customers to manage their finances efficiently.
With its impressive presence in Hong Kong and mainland China, Hang Seng Bank is well-positioned to take advantage of the growing opportunities in these emerging markets.
Bank of Taiwan
The Bank of Taiwan (BOT) is Taiwan’s central bank. Established back in 1899, they’re responsible for issuing currency, managing foreign exchange reserves, and supervising financial institutions – just like any central bank.
Perhaps even more notable? It’s one of the very few central banks in the world that provides general financial services to the public. You’ll find over 150 branches of BOT all across the island.
BOT naturally works with other government agencies to promote economic growth and stability. However, even though it made the 8th spot on our list, we don’t suggest making an investment in Taiwan.
China Development Bank
The China Development Bank (CDB) is a state-owned policy bank of the People’s Republic of China. It was established in 1994 to provide financial services to support the development of the Chinese economy.
The CDB provides loans, equity investments, guarantees, and other financial services for infrastructure and industrial projects. It also provides credit lines to other financial institutions and offers bond issuance services.
They have branches in major cities across China and the rest of Asia, as well as offices in Europe, North America, and Africa.
Agricultural Development Bank of China
The Agricultural Development Bank of China (ADBC) is a state-owned financial institution that provides financial services to rural areas and agricultural enterprises in China.
Established in 1994, it is the most significant policy bank in China and plays a vital role in providing funds for agricultural development projects.
ADBC is also responsible for implementing national agricultural policies, such as providing loans to farmers, developing rural infrastructure, improving agriculture tech, and promoting poverty alleviation initiatives.
It has branches nationwide, offering various types of banking services including deposits, loans, and insurance products. ADBC also has a network of foreign partners that it works with to promote international cooperation in the field of agriculture.