Customers turn to Swedish bank in protest over UK bank bonus payments

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DISENCHANTED bank customers are switching to Swedish bank Handelsbanken in their droves in support of the bank’s refusal to pay out bonuses to staff.

In the light of numerous British bank scandals and growing disenchantment among customers at bankers’ bonuses, Handelsbanken reported a 17 per cent rise in lending to British customers in the fourth quarter of last year.

Handelsbanken places strong emphasis on customer service and does not pay its staff bonuses, nor does it set sales targets for products, which means its employees are not incentivised to persuade customers to take out the bank’s products.

Its only target is higher return on equity than its peers, which it claims to have achieved for 40 years.

Handelsbanken’s head of the North, John Parker, said that only a “handful” of employees working in capital markets receive a bonus. This is out of a total of 12,500 staff across the group.

That means that no else, from the chief executive to branch staff, receives a bonus. No bonuses are paid to any staff in the UK.

Business lending increased 13 per cent in 2013 to £8.68bn, while lending to personal banking customers rose 29 per cent to £3.58bn. UK customer deposits increased 60 per cent over the year to £4.95bn.

Mike O'Connor, chief executive of Leeds-based debt charity Stepchange.

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