Photo: Bank of America

Think Bank of America (BAC 1.42%) will never recover after hitting rock bottom following the financial crisis? Actually, one fresh study shows its recovery is moving ahead.

Last week, Millward Brown released its BrandZ ranking of the world's 100 most valuable brands, which calculates the dollar value of brands across the globe through research spanning over 30 counties, 2 million customers, and 10,000 brands. 

The research firm's calculation seeks to quantify how much of a company's earnings can be tied to the actual brand that customers see and interact with, and as a result, what the true value of that brand is.

The plummet
In 2008, Bank of America had a brand value of $33.1 billion, an increase of 15% over 2007. It overtook Citigroup (C 1.47%) -- which saw its brand value fall 10% during the year to $30.3 billion -- as the most valuable banking brand. Overall, B of A was ranked 14th among the top 100 global brands. 

But that all changed in 2009. As the BrandZ report for the year noted, "The sub-prime debacle, which originated in North America and rippled around the world, caused a year of enormous challenges and changes for the banks." Both Bank of America and Citigroup saw their brand values plummet by more than 50%, respectively to $15.5 billion and $14.6 billion.

While Citigroup's brand value limped along after 2009, Bank of America's continued to plummet as the years progressed, and it was entirely unranked in both 2012 and 2013. The least valuable brand among the top 100 last year was Volkswagen at $8.8 billion, so you can see how bad BofA's situation had become.

Source: Millward Brown.

The recovery
Yet that all changed this year, as Bank of America posted a brand value of $10.1 billion and made its way back onto the list at No. 94.

Source: MIllward Brown.

While it still trails No. 57 Citigroup by a wide margin, and it remains far, far away from where it was before the financial crisis, it's encouraging to see the recovery has begun.

The takeaway for investors
Of the biggest banks, Bank of America has undergone the longest and the most painful recovery as a result of its actions during the financial crisis, as well as those of the companies it acquired.

But pieces of data like this show that, while it hasn't fully shaken off the troubles that once plagued it, the bank is moving in the right direction, which could mean big things for it in the years ahead.