10 Feb 2021 14:02

SEB is broadening the corporate business in Europe

SEB expands its business toward large corporate customers to more countries in Europe. The Large Corporates & Financial Institutions division will recruit key people and set up new customer teams with a focus on bringing in selected corporate customers in Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands.

The plan is a natural continuation of the growth initiative that was launched just over ten years ago in the Nordic countries and Germany and which in recent years has been successfully expanded to the United Kingdom.

“We see that our long-term relationship banking model works well for selected customer segments in this type of market. Now we want to take our proven business model and carefully expand it in new markets,” says William Paus, co-head of the division.

“We are basing this on lessons learned from our corporate business in Germany and the UK to grow organically with profitability. As long as we are focused, extremely cost-effective and use the scalability that exists in our model, we expect to achieve a profitability on par with the one we have in our Nordic business,” says Joachim Alpen, co-head.

 SEB’s German business has already established certain customer relationships in Switzerland and Austria, and the office in Munich will now be strengthened with a view to increasing the number of customers in these countries. In the Netherlands, the initiative will initially be run cross-border from existing offices in Sweden and other countries.

“The Netherlands has an interesting industrial structure and market conditions that suit our business model and the Nordic business culture,” says William Paus.

Which customers will SEB target?
“We follow the same model as when we established ourselves in the UK a few years ago. We have made a list of potential customers with good credit quality, relevant sales, in sectors that suit us and that work well from a sustainability perspective. We feel confident that over time we will be able to bring in a relevant proportion of these companies as customers,” says Joachim Alpen.
What will make SEB succeed?

 “We will need to work hard and be enormously proactive, but we have an advantage in our customer-centered business model, we have a strong capital situation, we have a relevant international network and we have a high level of expertise in sustainability. Our Nordic expertise is also interesting for those companies that have operations in the Nordic countries,” Alpen says.

“We can also reap the benefits of the long-term cost-focused strategy, which the bank has lived with for many years. We have a cost position that makes us profitable in this type of customer segment. It is a low-margin business, but with a good relationship between risk and return,” says William Paus.

How many people will work with the expansion?

“We expect to eventually bring in about 20 people to work with this. We are strengthening the office in Munich and as soon as it is constructively and realistically possible, the ambition is to set up a local office in the Netherlands,” says Joachim Alpen.