What we’ve done so far
In this section we present some of our achievements with a sustainable perspective, that SEB has accomplished so far. They range from very broad initiatives to small steps in our daily work.
Improved access to our banking services
SEB currently has 565 traditional branch offices in Sweden, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine, as well as private banking branches and representative offices in twelve countries. Large corporations and institutions are assisted by client executives, product experts, analysts and traders in seventeen countries, while SEB also co-operates with some 2,000 life insurance intermediaries and brokers.
SEB was early to adopt new technologies making our services more adaptable to our customers’ needs. Our online and telephone banking services have been in operation for more than a decade so that today, they now account for a large share of the daily contact with our customers. In 2009, 3.5 million customers used our online banking services while our call centers answered 5.8 million calls and over 600,000 e-mails. In Sweden, our largest market, private and corporate retail customers logged-on to our Internet office 67 million times during 2009.
SEB was the first Nordic bank to launch services in offshore Chinese Yuan (CNH) for cash management, trade finance and foreign exchange.
Simplified banking through technology
We have been early to adopt new technology such as the Internet to make financial services more adapted to our customers’ needs – with the introduction of the Internet office for private customers in the Swedish market in 1996 being a prime example. SEB was also among the first banks in the world to offer corporate and institutional clients the possibility to trade foreign exchange via the Internet. Some 70% of our FX trade with corporate clients is now conducted electronically. In addition to simplifying trades, electronic FX trading improves our own and our customers’ productivity.
iPlanner is an internet-based business planning tool launched for Estonian small and medium sized businesses. It helps entrepreneurs with their new business start-ups to better define business concept and assists in forecasting breakeven dates, helping them to calculate their working capital needs and other key business plan requirements.
Launched applications for iPhone & Android cellphones
To increase access to our services, we launched an iPhone application for private customers on the Swedish market in May 2010. The day after, it became the second most downloaded free app in Sweden and five months later it had been downloaded almost 50,000 times. In order to meet the needs of customers who use an android phone, we also launched an Android application later that year. As the leading bank on the Swedish market, SEB also launched an iPhone app for small- and medium sized corporations in October. This is an important part of our strategy to grow in the small and medium sized business segment.
Trained customers to go online
SEB’s Estonian customers received free training on various e-services in a joint effort between SEB and the Ole Kaas project. The customers are free to learn how to use a range of digital tools including solutions like digital signatures, Mobile ID and ID Card during 15 minute crash courses held at the bank's branch offices. The project has already trained more than 39,000 people since May 2009.
Helping bridge cultural gaps
Getting access to credit in a new country is one of the greatest challenges faced migrant entrepreneurs – SEB has a clear role to play in overcoming this obstacle. We have worked together with the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) and IFS, a non-profit organization that protects and promotes migrant entrepreneurs, to develop web-based learning tools to assist migrants. These tools include the Multicultural Bank and the Financing Game. The Multicultural Bank teaches bank employees about social codes and norms of different cultures whilst the Financing Game aims to prepare foreign entrepreneurs for a face-to-face meeting at the bank by improving their understanding of how banks function and reasons why they review loan applications.
Sharing our knowledge to strengthen local communities
Our economists and strategists actively participate in the economic policy debate and regularly appear in the media. For instance, we produce macroeconomic and financial reviews that are widely distributed, including our quarterly and bi-annual publications Nordic Outlook and Eastern European Outlook. Other SEB specialists provide advice while our analysis is used to assist entrepreneurs hoping to set up a business and help households to make informed decisions. By launching the SEB Newsroom in 2008 we increased the accessibility to our experts and specialists.
Beginning in 2009, we offer Latvian first graders free accident insurance for one year to the amount of 1,000 lats. About 20,000 children started school for the first time in August 2010 and they were now also properly insured. In order to avoid unexpected costs caused by accidents in this active period of life, we stepped forward to share concerns with parents, using our core competence to help.