The popular credit card issuer American Express (NYSE:AXP) is the most valuable brand in the financial services industry, according to a closely followed report released today.

Over the last 13 years, the corporate branding experts at Interbrand have ranked the top 100 brands in the world according to the consulting company's proprietary estimate of brand value. While this year's list is headlined by Apple and other well-known technology and consumer goods companies, a number of financial services businesses also made the list.


Brand Value (in billions)

Rank on Interbrand's "Best Global Brands 2013"

American Express






JPMorgan Chase



Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS)






Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS)



Visa (NYSE:V)



MasterCard (NYSE:MA)



Source: Interbrand.

The fact that American Express topped the list is probably of little surprise in hindsight, as it negotiated the financial crisis much better than many of its peers. In addition, the credit card issuer has made a series of strategic investments that are "already helping drive higher average spend and growth in its cardmember base." These include a partnership with Twitter that enables cardholders to make purchases with a hashtag.

These moves have helped American Express gain in brand value relative to its competitors Visa and MasterCard. At the same time, however, it's worth nothing that neither of these companies have been resting on their laurels. Visa appointed a new CEO at the end of last year and is aggressively pursuing its e-commerce platform, while MasterCard introduced its own mobile payments system, MasterPass, earlier this year.

What's perhaps most surprising is the continued inclusion of the nation's largest freestanding investment banks, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Both suffered considerable reputation damage throughout the crisis. In addition, while the former is back up and running at full throttle, the latter is but a shell of its former self, choosing to recede back into its protective wealth management operations.

John Maxfield has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends American Express, Goldman Sachs, MasterCard, and Visa. The Motley Fool owns shares of MasterCard and Visa. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.