» more from Banks

9. BancoEstado

Country: Chile
Total assets: $40 billion

BancoEstado is the only Latin American bank to make the top 10 rankings, but is one of four Chilean banks to make the top 50 safest list — highlighting the improving creditworthiness of the country's financial institutions.

The bank is the only state-owned commercial bank in Chile. It is also the nation's third-largest bank by loans, and branch network but is first in terms of deposits, according to Fitch. The bank is rated A by Fitch and S&P and Aa3 by Moody's. BancoEstado's strong link with the government and social objective to increase access to banking services and home ownership for low-income residents, gives it a stable outlook amid Chile's developing economy, according to S&P. All ratings agencies have said there's a high likelihood that the Chilean government would step in and provide support to the bank in the event of financial distress.

Riding the wave of economic growth in Chile, which is expected to post a 5.5 percent expansion in 2012 and to grow between 4.25 percent and 5.25 percent this year, BancoEstado has fared well catering to Chile's developing middle class. The bank's fee income grew nearly 13 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2012.

Photo: www.en.corporativo.bancoestado.cl | Getty Images