SINGAPORE's most valuable banking brand is DBS Bank, which is also the top banking brand in the region, according to a study released yesterday.

The Brand Finance Banking 500 study also showed that DBS is the 10th highest banking brand in Asia, excluding Japan.

Asia's top bank is Industrial & Commercial Bank of China.

Globally, DBS improved by four places, going to 54th this year, from 58th last year.

OCBC Bank's ranking surged to 81st place from 102nd, while United Overseas Bank slipped two notches, to 89th, from 87th.

In a statement, Mr Samir Dixit, managing director of Brand Finance Asia Pacific, said: "DBS leads the pack for another year with a brand value of US$4.01 billion (S$5.1 billion). This is up 15.3 per cent on 2013, an increase of over half a billion dollars.

"This puts DBS just outside the global top 50, but with such impressive growth, it is likely to break into the prestigious top 50 group next year."

The Brand Finance Banking 500 is an annual study conducted by brand valuation agency Brand Finance, and published in The Banker magazine.

Mr Dixit said that as earnings remain threatened in the Asean region, the strength of bank brands will face challenges.

"Constant downgrades to gross domestic product estimates coupled with the slowdown in mortgages will likely create some business downside in the next few quarters," he said.

"This is where a strong brand will play a significant role to help retain customers, reduce churn, build customer confidence and improve profitability."

Brand Finance also noted that the three local banks represented the greatest total brand value of any Asean country.

Their combined brand value is US$8.5 billion, an increase of 17 per cent, compared with last year's US$7.3 billion.