NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- So where are the world's safest banks these days? O Canada.

According to the World Economic Forum's annual Global Competitiveness Report, the medal for bank soundness goes to Canada, followed by New Zealand, Australia, Lebanon, and Chile, rounding out the top five countries with the safest banks, cited by the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. was among countries with the least safe banks, considering it experienced the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The U.S. ranked 111th in bank soundness - just above Germany and Iran, respectively, the Journal said.

In terms of global competitiveness, the U.S. fared much better, despite falling two spots, to rank fourth behind Switzerland, Sweden and Singapore, respectively, the report said. Canadian banks, which include Toronto Dominion ( TD - Get Report), Royal Bank of Canada ( RY) and Bank of Montreal ( BMO - Get Report), were No. 10 on the list for global competitiveness, according to the report, which was released Thursday.

Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in a statement that "effective supervision" not just regulation is the key to bank soundness. "Regulation alone is not necessarily the answer to the problem," Flaherty said in a statement, according to the Journal. "Many of the institutions that failed around the world were regulated. The key is effective supervision."

Canadian banks have been eyeing more targets south of the border. Toronto Dominion, the parent of U.S.-based retail banking arm, TD Bank, has made no secret of its initiative to expand its franchise from "Maine to Florida." TD Bank, the combination of the old Commerce Bancorp and Banknorth, in May announced plans to acquire the South Financial Group ( TSFG) and tow other small Florida banks.

Next week marks the two-year anniversary of a pivotal point in the crisis of the past three years and U.S. bank history in which Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. Most of its businesses were eventually taken over by Barclays' ( BCS) investment banking arm, Barclays Capital.

In the same week, Merrill Lynch was sold to Bank of America ( BAC - Get Report). Less than two weeks later, JPMorgan Chase ( JPM - Get Report) took over Washington Mutual, through an FDIC-assisted transaction. It was the largest commercial bank failure in U.S. history.

--Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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