International Banker offers a global view of banking and finance. Each year through the Banking Awards, it recognises the leading banking institutions and individuals that have set the bar for industry excellence. The 2017 Banking Awards acknowledge the organisations and individuals within the banking and financial industries in Western and Eastern Europe that drive global economic commerce, create capital and opportunities for economic growth within their regions, set the benchmarks for technological advancement and customer service, while maintaining high levels of regulatory compliance and corporate governance. The standout institutions working within retail, commercial, investment and private banking are recognized with these awards. —
Honoured with the award for Best Innovation in Retail Banking Sweden 2017 , Handelsbanken has achieved a prominent position on the International Banker 2017 Western and Eastern Europe Banking Awards list. The award acknowledges how Handelsbanken is using its innovative business model to forge strategic advantage in key areas, from digitalisation to sustainability.
Among the world's most consistently successful financial institutions, Sweden's Handelsbanken is wide praised for employing a decentralised business model, highly unusual in the banking industry. First adopted in the 1970s, the model operates on the premise that "the branch is the bank", which enables each Handelsbanken branch to have considerable autonomy. Built on the "church spire" principle—a bank should not conduct operations over a larger area than can be seen from the top of a church spire this decentralised approach is as successful today as ever.
Each branch has a clearly defined territory within which it makes all decisions for its customers. Customers recognise the additional value they receive from the staff's knowledge of the local market, ability to take decisions and close relationships they have developed. Each Handelsbanken branch manager is given more responsibility to run things, compared to other banks. Not only do they make decisions locally that matter to customers, from lending to pricing to product structuring, they also take overall responsibility for customer satisfaction. They are responsible for all business development, staffing, premises, profitability and the reputation of Handelsbanken in their respective communities.
The bank's staff believe that having more satisfied customers is a reliable route to sustainable profitability as a business. The bank is organised to be as close as possible to its customers, providing vice, service and decisions locally across all their financial needs. Branch teams inform head office when new services or product features are needed. There are no centrally set targets for product sales or lending volumes, and no financial incentives that could cloud focus on what's best for customers. The basic purpose of a Handelsbanken branch is to develop long-term relationships with customers, pool banking and local market knowledge, take good decisions every day and develop a successful Handelsbanken "franchise" in each community. This difference becomes more apparent to customers as other banks centralise operations from decision-making to customer contact.
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Name: Simon Brown
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Organization: Finance Publishing
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Release ID: 274072