The employees of Handelsbanken react with great unrest and decisions to set up a company in Denmark and Finland. – It is a shock, short and sweet. We never saw that this could happen, says chief shop steward Christer Enersen to Finansfokus.
Text: MAGNE S. OTTERDAL
Enersen had an extra travel day on Wednesday to get information from the management and talk to the members about what is now happening in Handelsbanken. I add to the closure in Finland and Denmark The regional bank in the Netherlands will also be changed and transformed into a branch to be managed from Stockholm.
– It has become a turmoil that we have not experienced before. This is the first time we are talking about job security here, it is completely new, says Enersen. He is in close dialogue with his shop stewards in Denmark and Finland, where there is great despair over the closure.
INSECURE AND UNREST
The fact that the Norwegian banking business seems to be shielded from the extensive cuts in other countries does not dampen among the employees in Norway.
– Words like “long-term” and “predictable” we just have to stop using, says Enersen.
That the bank is going to these dramatic cuts after new record results, Enersen believes gives clear signals about what can happen. Records are obviously not enough.
It has become a turmoil that we have not experienced before.
Chief shop steward Christer Enersen, Handelsbanken
– This is dramatic for us. It is unrest and security among employees in Norway. We are now experiencing even greater pressure and focus on making money, and that records are not enough, says Enersen and adds that the employees feel and ask what is happening if there are not new records.
I add to the closures, the Handelsbanken Group decided to convert this year’s bonus payments to employees through the bonus scheme Oktogonen. The management’s reasoning is that Handelsbanken’s profitability is not better than that of its competitors, according to Enersen.
HIGH GROWTH AMBITIONS
On Wednesday, CEO Arild Andersen sent out one press release where he explains the development of Handelsbanken’s Norwegian company. He states that the bank continues to grow in the private market in Norway with a growth of 5.3 percent last year.
– We have high ambitions to become much larger in the private market in Norway. We target solid customers. Many of these appreciate having a personal advice and personal service in addition to good digital solutions. At a time when many Norwegian bank customers are experiencing long waits for their inquiries, our goal is to always pick up the phone quickly. This is what customers notice, says CEO Arild Andersen.
Revenues in the third quarter were DKK 1.12 billion, the result was DKK 554 million. In the third quarter alone, lending to private customers grew by 1.2 per cent, and total lending reached DKK 108.7 billion for private customers. In addition, the bank has lent NOK 169 billion to Norwegian companies.
In Denmark and Finland, there is some speculation about what will happen to the company and whether potential buyers will come on board during the next week and months.
Handelsbanken in Norway has close to NOK 280 billion in lending and is Norway’s third largest corporate bank with 42 branches and around 800 employees. In addition to traditional banking, the bank operates in life insurance, asset management and securities. The bank is part of Svenska Handelsbanken. The bank was established in 1871, in Norway from 1988. The head office is located in Stockholm. The bank is listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.