Handelsbanken opens Yorkshire HQ

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Handelsbanken​ is to open its fifth UK regional head office in Leeds to support the bank’s 32 branches across ​​Yorkshire and the North East.

​The Swedish bank, which focuses on customer service and retail banking, said the expansion of its network across Yorkshire means it needs to set up a dedicated head office in the region.

The new regional head office is the fifth to open. London covers the capital and the South East, Manchester covers the North West, Birmingham covers the Midlands and Bristol covers the South West.

The Leeds head office will be run by former Hull branch manager Simon Lodge, who will be returning to his banking roots after five years’ heading up Handelsbanken’s regional operations in London and the South East.

The UK is the fastest-growing of Handelsbanken’s markets​ and​ its local branch network ha​s almost almost trebled in size since 2008.

Around 32 of the bank’s 177 present UK branches will form the new Yorkshire & North East UK Regional Bank,​ which is​ due to open on January ​1 next year​.

​Mr Lodge said: ​“Having grown up and spent most of my banking career in the region, I understand why those looking for a local banking relationship find our experienced, empowered branch teams so refreshing.

“Since I joined Handelsbanken a decade ago, serving first Leeds then Hull branch customers, we have demonstrated our commitment to strong and lasting customer relationships all over the region.

“The warmth of response from customers and local professionals, coupled with the economic potential we see in communities across the region, has encouraged us to set up our fifth UK regional bank, with its head office to be located in Leeds.”

Anders Bouvin, Handelsbanken’s UK ​c​hief ​e​xecutive, ​added​: “Our continuing growth in the UK comes down to a clear, long-term focus on customer satisfaction, prudent banking and cost efficiency.

​“​We will continue to invest in traditional, local banking to meet the demand we see from businesses and individuals across Britain.”

Handelsbanken was last month rated one of the world’s strongest banks for the fourth year running, by financial information provider Bloomberg.

​The 143-year-old Swedish bank was recently rated top for customer satisfaction and loyalty for the fifth year in a row, in an independent survey of British banks’ personal and business customers​.​