When Global Finance published its 2008 awards a year ago, the financial crisis was -- with hindsight -- still in its infancy, but already economists noted that the prior year had been one of the most tumultuous in recent memory. The year just gone must surely rank as the most volatile and toughest for the banking sector in living memory. The world now understands that the long-running boom from the 1990s until mid-2007 was founded on an increasingly unsustainable level of borrowing. Yet to a large extent it was that borrowing that drove banks' revenues during those years. Rightly, some adjustments have had to be made to this year's Global Finance awards. The country categories of Iceland and Ireland have been removed, for example, because it has been impossible to find a bank that met the basic standards required of a winner. Judging criteria include growth in assets, profitability geographic reach, strategic relationships, new business development, innovation and the banks' ability to conduct and fund themselves in the current environment.