The No. 1 bank on our ranking this year is also one of the most improved. BBVA Compass, which didn't even make the top half in the 2013 ranking, boosted its reputation score more than 12 points with customers. With a score of 78.9 on our 100-point scale, the Spanish-owned southern regional edged out last year's No. 1, Union Bank.

The increase is no aberration. Within the past year and a half, BBVA Compass has moved checking and savings accounts to a new technology platform that provides real-time processing and the full scope of each customer's relationship with the bank. It has garnered attention for the sleek, new headquarters tower it opened last June in Houston, been active in social media and raised its profile with NBA basketball, MLS soccer and college football bowl game sponsorships.

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