Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Handelsbanken the bank of the future?

A good write-up in the Standard for Handelsbanken, a 'localist' swedish bank with many UK branches that's almost unique in not paying lavish bonuses to fat cats. That's its first USP.
"Second, it operates what is known internally as the "church tower principle", which translates as only doing business with people you can see from the local church tower. This means credit decisions - and, critically, responsibility - is taken at branch level. There are no targets, no rewards for high volume loans, no profit goals - and it employs friendly people to answer its phones, not annoying machines.
Local managers deal with all customers, whether penniless students, high-worth families or corporate giants. Instead of applying nationally-set formulas, they decide on 98 per cent of loans. And if something goes wrong, they pick up the pieces instead of having specialist central teams sort out the problems, as happens at rivals."
No connection, except I'm now applying for a current account.

13 comments:

Barnacle Bill said...

I think I'll be joining your convoy on this one.

Henry Crun said...

Banking as banking used to be before the advent of the call centre and the interweb.

Might have to consider moving my accounts should Handelsbanken open up a local branch.

English Pensioner said...

I have an elderly friend who was a bank manager with the Midland in the days when UK banks were like that. He took responsibility for all branch loans. If the bank had to foreclose on a mortgage, it was a black mark on his record, even if the bank didn't actually loose any money. The management attitude was that he was wrong to have lent the money in the first place and that the bank should never have to take such action to recover their money.
But then the Midland went broke themselves as the result of an ill-advised investment in the US and were taken over by HSBC.
Now, if only they'd stuck to plain, simple banking, I might still have my account there.

Zia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scrobs... said...

Totally agree!

We bank with them, and by coincidence, we met with them this morning to arrange a new account.

All you say above came out during the discussion, including 'the church tower' principle, and we've have received nothing but courtesy, goodwill and very friendly personal service in our years there, which is why we'll stay with them of course.

Business partner had not met anyone there before, and afterwards, he waxed lyrical about their reception of two of their 'minor' customers, just out there, trying to undo the ruin foisted on them by Brown and Balls.

I'd recommend them any time.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

Shame The Bank of North Dakota doesn't service the UK.

A state owned bank that does sane lending, is embarrassed at being rudely solvent apparently without resorting to any vampire squid tactics. BoND serves local people...

Now why can't our idiot municipal financial twits work out something similar rather than handing over our money to Russian gangsters with a shop in Iceland.

There's some more if you're interested over here -sorry, nearly 2 hours - but quite a few gold nuggets......

Budgie said...

I am always very sceptical of top executives who claim that they must be paid loads of moolah. In my experience there are usually so many people vying for the top jobs that those at the top spend a good proportion of their time undermining their subordinates. Who is it in these companies, and in government, that swallows this rubbish?

And how much was Fred worth to RBS - minus £650 billion (£550 billion shareholders + £100 billion taxpayers)? The Gord leads the field in money down the drain but Fred ain't far behind.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

I should have said about them gold nuggets... not the metal variety - but, oh... the unguarded things said by the most senior bankers and their trade body when they are certain it isn't going to get out.

Boldfield said...

A stuby on bnas pay shows the people on high bonus spend more time maximising their bonus than actually doing their job. A bonas only works when some one hates their job and can be paid diectly on results, such as production line work. But of course quality will suffer.

Anonymous said...

Its not perfect. I am at a bank like that. They won't go to an LVR of 90pc temporarily on my main asset despite massive cash flows, but the evil big bank in town will happily to it because they have industry (mine) specialists that speak my language.

Bill Quango MP said...

I know the banker who invented that foreign currency by internet order, pay over the net, delivered next day to your door.

That decision alone earned several thousand million pounds for his well known bank.

His £450k bonus might seem beyond excessive, but it can't be denied he turns a healthy profit.

And he comes up with four or five of these 'new' ventures every year.

Think on just that one. Money by mail. Its bleedin' obvious. Its even subsidised by using Royal mail. And really convenient for the business user.
But just a short while ago no one was doing it.

{Its not me BTW - it is an actual banker. The rich bastard.}

Anonymous said...

I applied for an account with HBanken but was told to get lost as I didn't have any debt personally or in my businesses.

I found it strange that wanted to having nothing to do with someone who ran their finances sensibly and lived within their means.

They said they were awash with cash so had no interest in running my fairly substantial savings and investments.

All very odd I thought. Oh well will have to stick with dealing with morons in call centres.

Anonymous said...

Anony Same here