Sweden has a history of financial firsts. In 1661, it was the first country to introduce banknotes. And in 2023, coming full circle, it may be the first country to do away with them (and coins, too). Today, less than 1 percent of the total value of transactions in this tech-savvy Nordic country of 10 million people are in cash. And Sweden is also testing one of the first state-backed digital currencies, the e-krona.
This legacy of financial innovation, coupled with the country’s high-speed broadband network and high levels of trust in institutions, creates the ideal situation for Sweden’s banking sector as it aims to promote new technologies and services. This analysis is according to Johan Torgeby, CEO of Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (SEB), who at age 44 is one of the few bank CEOs who just might pass for a millennial.
SEB was the first business founded by A.O. Wallenberg, patriarch of one of Sweden’s most prominent families, and is still at the heart of the Wallenberg family’s multibillion-dollar investment portfolio. It is one of the largest banks in Sweden, with 4.4 million customers, 15,000 employees, and revenues in 2018 of SEK 45.9 billion, up slightly over 2017. Torgeby, an economist by training, took over as CEO in 2017 to lead SEB’s digital transformation. These plans are progressing — focusing on new advisory services, operational efficiency, and fintech cooperation — but given the region’s recent money-laundering scandals emanating from Russia and the Baltics, Torgeby’s strategic plan has also focused on strengthening business basics: proving the bank is resilient in an age of technological change. “In order to protect trust, you have to have your house in order,” he says.
Recently, strategy+business sat down with Torgeby in SEB’s Stockholm headquarters to discuss trust in institutions, the future of banking in a cashless society, fintechs, and the challenge of delivering growth in a slowing economy.
Read more: https://www.strategy-business.com/article/Ensuring-trust-in-an-age-of-digital-banking?gko=1648f