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A Blueprint for Better Banking: Svenska Handelsbanken and a proven model for more stable and profitable banking by Niels Kroner

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5: Strategy and Business Focus

Decentralisation, a Fundamentally Simple Model

‘The branch is the Bank’ is the summary of Handelsbanken’s strategy. When I first heard it my impression was that it was trivial, not saying anything, pure marketing. I have since come to see that it is not. The bank is dead serious in implementing this philosophy.

The idea behind it is that a customer really has a relationship with his bank branch and the people at that branch (every customer at Handelsbanken has one relationship manager, unlike most other banks at which smaller customers hardly ever do). Given that the branch also knows the customer better than anyone else in the bank, the bank believes that the branch should be given wide-ranging freedom on ...

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