Building the bridge as you walk on it


The past years have been turbulent times in the world of business, not least in the financial sector. Banks are facing tougher regulations and stricter demands to their capital and liquidity position. Many private customers lost faith in the banks during the financial crisis, and the huge task of rebuilding trust in the industry is still in process. Eivind Kolding took over as CEO of Danske Bank in 2012, and, together with a new management team, he carried out an extensive organisational transformation. Danske Bank went from a six-stringed, country-focused organisation to having a segment focus with three business areas: Corporate and Institutional Banking, Business Banking and Personal Banking. One of the new management team’s first priorities was to develop a new strategy for Danske Bank.

Taking personal banking to the next level

For Personal Banking the reality was that the bank was losing money, many customers were unprofitable, customer satisfaction was low and the bank no longer had a distinct position in the market. The task of the new management was to execute a financial turnaround and simultaneously define the road to a competitive and profitable future for the bank.

The Nordic countries have an extraordinary position as the internet penetration and the share of the population using online banking are close to unmatched. Danske Bank saw this as an opportunity to embark on a journey to take personal banking to the next level, allowing customers to serve themselves on state-of-the-art digital platforms when performing their daily banking transactions, while offering more service and tailored counselling to customers with complex needs.

Danske Bank is one of the leading financial enterprises in Northern Europe

Danske Bank is organised in three business units: Corporate and Institutional Banking, Personal Banking and Business Banking.

Leading change: tightrope walking

In order to agree on the scope of the strategy and the new direction, the management team needed to create alignment on a number of parameters.

The first step was to establish the baseline for the new organisation and a joint view on the strategic direction and key levers. The next step was to translate the strategy into executionable programmes and concrete projects, including tools for following up and measuring progress. Lastly, it was crucial to mobilise the organisation, define a strong governance model and initiate execution.

In today’s fast-paced business environment, most large companies will

recognise the dilemma of handling daily operations and structural changes in parallel. Danske Bank is no exception, and therefore an agile virtual organisation with the sole focus of transforming the bank was created – while the remaining employees focused on efficiently operating the bank.

This dual focus enabled the tightrope walking of ensuring short-term financial sustainability while setting new standards within four areas: Advisory services & solutions, Customer interaction, Transparency & financial strength and Responsibility, in order to make Danske Bank the most trusted financial partner for its clients.

From focus on the entire market to segment prioritisation

From independent channels to Integrated channels

From broad physical footprint to the best self-service platform

From reactive service to proactive care