The Banker named SEB best bank 2014 in Sweden and all three Baltic countries at an award ceremony last week. SEB last won the recognition in 2012.
The Banker, a banking industry publication from the Financial Times, said SEB’s operating profit and return on equity development, as well as the bank’s continued focus on its home-market strengths impressed the judging panel when awarding the prize for Sweden.
“We have continued to strengthen our customer relationships, and they appreciate our holistic and long-term approach in meeting their needs,” says SEB’s Chief Executive Annika Falkengren.
She said SEB’s commitment to be the leading Nordic bank for corporations and institutions, and the best universal bank in Sweden and the Baltics remains firm.
Financial performance and volume growth was also a recurring theme when The Banker explained why SEB’s Baltic banks won the awards.
“We have made significant progress in all three countries, both in terms of our offering to customers and in terms of financial performance. This recognition from The Banker confirms we are doing the right things,” says David Teare, head of SEB’s Baltic division.
In Estonia SEB has beefed up its electronic channels and about 99 per cent of bank transactions in the country are now made via such e-channels, either using internet or mobile banking.
In Latvia SEB has worked to help improve financial literacy among customers. For example, in preparation for the introduction of the euro, the bank launched a ‘banking café’ concept to interact with clients. In the SEB’s Euro Café, customers were able to obtain information on the euro using tablet computers and other materials.
In Lithuania, SEB launched a redesigned and upgraded internet banking system, which in part contributed to 46,000 additional customers signing up for internet banking throughout the year. At the end of 2013, SEB had 1.1 million internet banking customers in the country.