Great place to learn about banking from the ground up
“Once the sale is completed, our job starts. We work with the bank’s deliveries every day and make sure everything works,” says Christina Norrbring, who heads the Operations unit and is leading SEB’s automation journey.
Christina Norrbring has a long career at SEB and has moved among various parts of the bank’s operations. She joined SEB in 2008 in the Technology division, where she was in charge of 1,200 employees in IT development. After just over a decade, she became head of business development for the Swedish banking division, Corporate & Private Customers.
She has now gone over to the Operations unit, where she leads some 1,700 employees. They are the link between customers and the bank and make sure that all practical matters work surrounding loans, handling of funds, trading settlements, customer reports and enquiries from authorities.
“We work with all of the bank’s customer segments in all countries and in all markets,” she says. “Our largest units are in Riga, Vilnius, Stockholm, and Singapore. Operations is an essential part of the customer delivery and a great place to learn banking for real.”
As head of Operations, Christina is leading the work with SEB’s automation journey. This entails fully automated processes as far as possible, where customers’ transactions can be performed directly without manual handling by the bank’s employees. This transformation is being conducted with the help of robot programming and to a growing extent with machine learning and AI.
The aim is to improve the customer experience, shorten lead times and increase accessibility 24 hours a day.
“Of course, there are complex matters that require human dialogue. But in many cases, customers expect a greater amount of automation,” Christina explains. “A customer applying for a home mortgage does not want to wait for manual handling, but instead wants an answer immediately to be able to cancel, refinance or pay off a loan on their own. The same goes for businesses. They don’t want to have to call someone to get a report on their bank data or make a change to their banking arrangement.”
Greater automation also reduces the risk for errors. The more manual work that is done, the higher the risk is for an error.
How is it working for a bank?
“It’s not at all like people think. Now I have had the good fortune to be part of the transformation that the entire banking sector is currently undergoing, with digitalisation as the main driver. It’s very exciting! Since I have worked in various parts of the bank, I have also had the opportunity to see this development from many perspectives.
“It also adds an extra dimension to work in a societally essential company that plays a vital role in keeping the wheels of the economy rolling. It’s stimulating to feel a sense of purpose of why you go to work.”
What advice would you give yourself as a younger person?
“Take it a little easy. It’s not important to have your career crystal-clear and charted out. On the contrary: Take opportunities as they come but be cognizant of what energises you and not only what others think is important. Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to try something new.
“If you want to work for a bank, Operations is a great place. Here you get insight into the bank’s entire customer deliver and all its business processes.”