Turkish and European bank heads receive top grades

Global Finance Central Banker ranking shows the peaks and valleys of global banking leadership.

Global Finance magazine issued its Central Banker Report Card ranking the heads of Central Banks from 30 key countries as well as the European Central Bank with grades from A to F. Because the Czech Republic’s Central Bank Governor Miroslav Singer has been in office only from July 1, 2010, he didn’t receive a grade this year. The same is true of the recently appointed head of the National Bank of Poland, Marek Belka. Singer’s predecessor, Zdeněk Tůma, was awarded an A in 2009.

On the other hand, Hungarian National Bank head András Simor might have preferred to have not qualified this year after receiving the lowest grade in all of Europe. His C for 2010  was a drop from the B he received in 2009 and comes during an increasingly contentious time as the Hungarian government is proposing to take away the National Bank Governor’s right to nominate members to the monetary council.

On November 29, in response to another controversy, Simor pledged to wind up a Cyprus-registered company he owns, sell off his foreign assets and transfer the proceeds back to Hungary.

At the top of the European rankings are European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet, with a second consecutive A grade, along with the head of Turkey’s Central Bank, Durmuş Yilmaz, who received an A this year after receiving a B in 2009.

Yilmaz’s improved ranking can be accounted for by the Turkish economy’s particularly resilient response to the financial crisis. One of the main criteria of the ranking is the independence of the Central Bank from their respective government or governments. In the case of Trichet, receiving a top grade is a sign of confidence that he is skillfully navigating increasingly treacherous waters.