A MANAGER at the Ipswich branch of Handelsbanken has hailed a strong set of annual figures from the Swedish-based banking group.

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Handelsbanken reported a 23% increase in lending to UK customers as of the final quarter of 2012, with business lending up 22% at £7.7billion while lending to personal banking customers was 27% higher at £2.8bn.

UK customer deposits increased 43% over the period to £3.1bn.

Corporate manager Martin Fish, part of a team of four bankers at the Ipswich branch, said: “Obviously we’re delighted at these strong results.

“They are further evidence that our traditional, local approach where the focus is always on the customer and not on a ‘sales’ target, has been embraced throughout the UK.”

Handelsbanken has 148 branches UK, including 29 opened during 2012.

Worldwide, it has around 750 branches in 24 countries, employing more than 11,000 staff.

Anders Bouvin, Handelsbanken’s UK chief executive, said: “For us it’s not about how far or how fast we grow in the UK.

“Instead it’s about ensuring every day that our branches are able to deliver the best possible service to their customers, based only on their individual needs.”

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