International Banker recently held its annual Banking Awards to acknowledge the top banking institutions and individuals in Western and Eastern Europe. Handelsbanken’s CEO Anders Bouvin was honoured with the prestigious Banking CEO of the Year Western Europe 2018 Award.
— 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 2018 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. In addition, special awards are given to outstanding CEOs in each region.
Honoured with the award for Banking CEO of the Year Western Europe 2018 to acknowledge and celebrate his leadership in banking, Anders Bouvin, CEO of Sweden’s Handelsbanken, has achieved a prominent position on the International Banker Western and Eastern Europe Awards 2018 list.
Handelsbanken—headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, but with more than 800 branches in its six home markets—makes it very clear that customer satisfaction is its guiding principle. Handelsbanken has a long history. Established in 1871, it has undergone many changes since its inception, yet it has kept hold of the fundamental importance of maintaining a local presence, as other banks have closed branches and replaced them with automation. For both its personal and corporate customers, Handelsbanken’s promise to meet their “requirements for financial services—with the highest possible level of satisfaction” remains as true today as it was a century ago.
At the head of it all is President and Group CEO Anders Bouvin, who is determined to actualize the bank’s business strategy. “We aim to be more profitable than our competitors—in terms of RoE—by having more satisfied customers and lower costs.” This strategy is definitely working, with return on equity rising to 13.8 percent in the January–June 2018 period from 12.6 percent in the same period of last year. 2017 marked the 46th consecutive year that the bank produced higher profitability than the average of its competitors.
The judges for the prestigious Banking CEO of the Year Western Europe 2018 Award noted that under Anders Bouvin’s leadership, Handelsbanken has embarked on a digitalisation strategy that focuses on the bank’s key strengths and differentiators within the industry. The strategy incorporates and builds on the uniquely decentralised model of the bank by placing a strong emphasis on increasing the quality of personal meetings and the level of advice and service at the branch level. CEO Anders Bouvin has demonstrated his commitment to expansion within all the markets the bank operates. Handelsbanken has increased its number of customer investment-advice meetings held by its Swedish branches by 64 percent year-on-year; this has been accomplished with branch staff who have no sales activity targets or personal sales incentives. But Mr. Bouvin is determined not to force the expansion of the bank. A branch is opened only when a suitable branch manager has been found to head it up. He views that expenditure to increase customer satisfaction as not a cost but an investment, and the responses to customer-satisfaction surveys support this approach. Anders Bouvin’s plan to focus on the fundamentals of increasing customer satisfaction and cost efficiency is a clearly defined and sustainable long-term strategy for Handelsbanken’s growth.
The judges were also impressed by Handelsbanken’s and Anders Bouvin’s personal commitment to the Global Child Forum and the United Nation’s Agenda 2030’s Sustainable Development Goals—such as sustainable cities and communities, and gender equality.
For more information, please visit https://internationalbanker.com/banking/interview-with-mr-anders-bouvin-president-and-group-ceo-handelsbanken/
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