Building from the bottom up
Belfius is the name of the bank/insurer that used to be called Dexia Bank Belgium. The company was hit hard by the financial crisis and they are still adjusting to the changes. Income is also lower meaning they have to rethink their service and staff model. We learn how the company created and launched a new name, and we also hear reflections on their new business model. And we also come to appreciate just how hard it’s been to keep morale in the company high in the face of looming job losses.
Everyone who hasn’t been living in a bunker for the past 6 years is aware of the global economic crisis and the massive impact this had on financial institutions around the world, and in Europe and the US in particular. No financial organisations have been immune from this but some have suffered more than others. Belfius, which is a newly constituted bank formed from the remnants of the Dexia Group in Belgium, was one of those institutions that was shaken to their foundations by the crash. Consequently, it has been forced to undertake a very long, detailed - and often painful - analysis and reinvention of itself.
Dirk Smet, Director of Communications for the bank takes up the story: “The situation with Dexia was not a good one generally. The group’s investment portfolio was too large, its reputation was fatally damaged and financially it was in a bad way. There were frequent bad news stories and it became obvious that some sort of rescue package was needed. The Belgian government stepped in and Belfius was the resultant business vehicle.”
“But this was just the beginning of the problem,” he continues. “The failure in the global banking system left the reputation of the financial industry in general – and some specific institutions – in pieces. We knew that we would have to build not just a business model but also a new organisational structure and engender a deep culture change in the business. This was always going to be a difficult and far-reaching process with a lot of casualties, a painful transition and a good deal of soul-searching and honest confrontation of very challenging situations.”