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Local customer focus drives UK growth for Handelsbanken
Handelbanken, the relationship bank with a branch in Church Road, Tunbridge Wells, has credited another successful year of growth to the loyalty of its local branch customers.
The 140-year-old bank has published its annual results for 2011 [available at www.handelsbanken.co.uk] which reveal a 31 per cent increase in lending to UK individual and corporate customers, taking total UK lending to just over £8.5 billion. In addition, customer deposits increased by 44 per cent, partly reflecting the bank's reputation for strength and stability, with financial information provider Bloomberg last year rating Handelsbanken the world's second-strongest bank*.
Run by a team of four experienced local bankers, the Tunbridge Wells branch is one of 119 British branches**, stretching from Perth in Scotland to Portsmouth on the South Coast. Handelsbanken puts this continuing growth, including 21 new branches opened in 2011, down to a clear, long-term focus on customer satisfaction, prudent banking and cost efficiency.
"We are delighted to play our part in the ongoing investment and commitment of the bank to the UK," says Nick Green, Branch Manager of Handelsbanken, Tunbridge Wells. "Our branch is continuing to grow at a pace, within the corporate, personal mortgage and personal banking markets all down to a traditional banking service - banking as it should be!"
Since opening its doors in Tunbridge Wells in April 2009, Handelsbanken has become very much part of the local community. This is highlighted through its sponsorship of The Torchlight Dinner, in aid of Hospice in the Weald.
Due to its continual focus on local, personal service, Handelsbanken was recently rated top for customer satisfaction and loyalty for the third year running, in an independent survey of British banks' personal and business customers***. Worldwide, Handelsbanken has around 750 branches in 22 countries, employing over 11,000 staff.
Anders Bouvin, Handelsbanken's UK Chief Executive, comments: "We are building a British bank for the long term and our success rests squarely on developing strong and lasting customer relationships."
Handelsbanken's group annual financial results reaffirm the bank's exceptionally strong capital and liquidity positions and its consistently low credit loss ratios. These, and other factors, have earned the Swedish bank among the highest credit ratings**** of any international bank.
** At year end 2011, 104 Handelsbanken branches had been officially opened in the UK. A further 15 branches have been announced and will open in the near future.
*** EPSI Rating (Extended Performance Satisfaction Index) is a system created to collect, analyse and disseminate information about how an organisation is perceived by its stakeholders. The assessment is done in terms of image, preferences and perceived quality as well as loyalty and attractiveness by customers, employees and other interested parties. With a system of databases including more than 70,000 indices derived from some 2 million interviews taken during surveys in numerous country studies over almost two decades, ESPI Rating is the European leader in stakeholder management and benchmarking. For more information on EPSI Rating visit www.epsi-rating.com
**** Handelsbanken is rated Aa2 and Stable by Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch (Feb 2012)
Notes to editors
•·Handelsbanken first came to the UK in 1982 to cater for Nordic businesses and their British subsidiaries, but quickly realised the potential to provide universal banking services locally. The branch network that has followed is one of the most successful branch banking operations set up outside of the High Street banks.
•·Handelsbanken is the UK trading name of Svenska Handelsbanken AB (publ), one of Sweden's leading banks, with around 750 branches in 22 countries, and more than 11,000 employees.
•·Svenska Handelsbanken AB (publ) was established 140 years ago. Today, Handelsbanken manages a decentralised network of 119 branches across the UK, with further expansion ongoing.
•·Handelsbanken specialises in providing highly personalised and competitive banking services to both businesses and individuals. Each branch operates as a small business enabling it to make decisions at a local level and provide a service that is truly bespoke.
•·The focus is always on the need of the individual customer and not on the sale of specific products, hence the bank does not offer its branch staff bonuses.