By Steven I. Davis (auth.)
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Additional resources for Excellence in Banking — Revisited!
Let’s start with Goldman Sachs, whose meritocratic and clientoriented culture is a role model for its peers in the universal and investment banking sectors. Its culture is underpinned by 14 values which were established in the 1970s and which stand out as an example of effective corporate governance. Appendix 2 lists these values, which are repeated in each of the firm’s annual reports and in People and their Culture 39 our view are unique across the banking world in their durability and frankness.
Everybody understands the business model: it’s 99% basic execution. Banking is a pretty simple business; there are no manuals like nuclear physics. It’s just rate times principal times time! We run the business in a decentralized way. The competition has a line of business model, whereas each of our 17 affiliates has a local CEO and the selling is local. The model was established before I arrived. We tell the banks we acquire: here’s the way we operate – and it works! Why change the model? It all depends on how hard you want to hustle.
Focus, well-established brands and a proven ability to integrate smaller acquisitions. The challenge in the EU thus tends to be whether the model can be exported to other geographic markets to sustain revenue growth. Svenska Handelsbanken (SHB) in Sweden has a decentralized, branch-based model which is the envy of many of its peers in terms of its ability to provide not only excellent client satisfaction ratings but also an impressive cost/revenue ratio, low credit losses and steady growth. Introduced by its former CEO, Jan Wallander, in the early 1970s, the basic model continues to function successfully under the current CEO, Lars Grönstedt.