Posted on Monday 31 October 2016 by ub digital

The full banking circle

Shaun McAnee, Richard Caldwell and David Elliott

Richard Caldwell and Shaun McAnee are busy men. As the Managing Director of Personal Banking & Small Business, and the Managing Director of Corporate Banking respectively at Danske Bank, they have a lot on their plates, not that you could tell by their breezy nature.

That comes from their years of experience in the banking world, experience which enables them to handle the not-inconsiderable responsibility of their roles.

Richard has been at Danske Bank for more than 20 years, with previous roles which have included being Head of Finance Centres and Head of Private Banking – so he’s well placed to take on the newly created Managing Director of Personal Banking & Small Business role.

It entails responsibility for all of the bank’s retail customers, a sizeable number just to maintain but one he wants to add to with the aim of establishing the biggest market share for personal accounts in Northern Ireland, now helped by the introduction of the bank’s new cash reward current account offering. Improving share of the mortgage market is also in his sights and he points to the current £1,200 cashback offer for customers who borrow £75,000 or more.

In addition to personal banking, he is also tasked with growing the bank’s small business customer base and hopes to achieve all of these aims by introducing a more integrated approach to service delivery.

“We have a great opportunity to find out which of our personal customers also run businesses and to inform them of our small business offering,” Richard told Ulster Business. “By the same token we are able to sell the benefits of our personal banking offering to our small business customers.

“If they have experience of Danske Bank then they realise that the service we can offer is second to none, so it’s just about getting the opportunity to show them what we can do.”

The approach seems to be working with the bank establishing around 40 new small business relationships per week since the spring – aided by their cutting edge digital offering and £500 cashback offer for start-ups and switchers.

Richard says he is also determined to further improve customer satisfaction ratings amongst the personal and small business customer base.

Shaun has responsibility for leading Danske’s Corporate Banking, Markets, Specialist Business and Agri-Business teams, as well as the bank’s regional Finance entres throughout Northern Ireland. He joined Danske Bank in 2012, having previously held a number of senior positions in the banking and financial sector across the UK and Ireland.

He also has big ambitions in an area of the bank which has been market-leading for some time, enjoying table-topping customer satisfaction survey scores and being voted as the ‘Corporate Banking Team of the Year’ at the annual Insider Deal Maker Awards this year.

The team has also been involved in a number of major commercial property deals over the past few months – including the sale of Bloomfield Shopping Centre in Bangor to Ellandi and Tristan Capital – and is one of the biggest lenders to the social housing sector in Northern Ireland, an area in which it invests heavily.

“The feedback we’ve been getting is that people are delighted with the service, with our people and particularly with our ability to be agile. We are able to respond quickly and efficiently to requests from customers and that counts for a lot” Shaun said.

“If you wrap all that up we have a pretty compelling package.”

Shaun doesn’t underestimate how important the bank’s people are to its business. “Our people are hugely important to the bank,” he said. “That’s something which we hear regularly from our customers.”

Much of that feedback has emerged directly from the bank’s customers at the Danske Advantage series of Boardroom lunches which it has been holding with its business customers in recent months.

Not only have the events given the bank insight into how their services rate, they have also offered an insight into how a wide cross-section of the business community are coping in the post-EU referendum era.

“The uncertainty is frustrating for businesses,” Shaun said. “Planning is difficult and there is a lot of concern about issues such as the border and the continued availability of labour from across Europe.”

Shaun said the latter issue is a particular worry for the agri-food sector, as was the prospect of inflationary pressures in the coming months as a result of the devaluation of sterling.

“We’re a net importer so the weaker pound is going to drive up prices for some and the uncertainty around trade agreements will call into question future export arrangements.

Despite the issues, both men said the Northern Ireland economy should remain strong and able to fend off any post EU Referendum challenges.

“The currency move means exporters are going to get a boost and we’ve been helping to facilitate that by encouraging more of our customers to sell their goods and services abroad,” Shaun said.

“Whilst there are a lot of challenges, there are also plenty of opportunities and we must make sure we help our customers to make the most of them.”



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