Despite having one of the largest banking systems in the world, the UK’s banks have failed to appear in Global Finance’s top 10 list of the world’s safest banks.

The annual ranking highlights concerns over risk-taking and the amount of capital held by banks and the UK’s exclusion from the top 10 will come as bitter blow to the country’s recovering economy.

Britain may have one of the strongest economies at present but only 3 UK banks were able to make it into the prestigious top 50. HSBC was the UK’s highest scoring bank – they dropped a place from last year to take 19th position, while Barclays and Nationwide also featured in the list.

“Being included in the ‘World’s Top 50 Safest Banks’ demonstrates the strength of the society’s mutual structure and benefits of the consistent and prudent approach to managing the business,” commented a Nationwide spokesperson.

The renowned survey has been running for 19 years and this year it was German, French and Dutch banks that took the majority of the top positions. KfW of Germany bagged the top accolade, France’s Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations took the second spot and the Netherlands’ Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten was awarded third place.

Long-term credit ratings from Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch and analysis of total assets owned by the top 500 banks were used to calculate the list.

“Banks that have strengthened their liquidity positions and the quality and quantity of their capital are recognised in these rankings. More than ever, customers around the world are viewing long-term creditworthiness as the key feature of banks with which they do business,” observed Global Finance’s Joseph Giarraputo.