From its UK base in Nottingham, Ikano Bank manages store cards for major fashion retailers such as; New Look, Oasis, Warehouse and Karen Millen. The Bank also provides a range of consumer finance facilities, such as interest free credit and short term loans, to enable customers to buy products such as sofas, beds and electrical goods from furniture retailers, department stores and supermarkets.
Created by the founders of Ikea, Ikano Bank is a family-owned business that originated in Sweden. They have offices in 9 countries in northern Europe and established its UK business in Nottingham in 1994. Having served the customers of its retail partners for many years, Ikano Bank is now developing a ‘direct to consumer’ business to offer both personal loans and savings account by the end of of 2015.
Nottingham remains Ikano Bank’s base in the UK where it employs in excess of 250 people (or co-workers as Ikano prefers to call them).
The company chose to base its UK business in Nottingham as a “central and upcoming region”, which it has subsequently proved to be. Communications Manager, Vivienne Saunders, explained how Nottingham’s central location within the UK proved to be the perfect place for Ikano’s co-workers, retail customer base and their partners. The excellent transport links within and surrounding the City, which include train, tram and airport links, means that Ikano Bank remains widely accessible to co-workers and partners alike. Nottingham’s close proximity to East Midlands Airport, as well as the airports of Manchester and Birmingham, means that when necessary, their co-workers can fly between their international facilities; a vital component to ensure the success of the company.
Nottingham is also the location of a variety of Ikano Bank’s important and influential suppliers. Being within the vicinity of companies such as Experian, Capital One and TDX, increases the efficiency of their UK facility as they remain close contact with their suppliers, which is crucial to the foundation of strong business relationships. This networking ability within Nottingham provides Ikano Bank with a strong platform from which they can expand their depth of knowledge and understanding in new fields.
They view their company as “straight-forward, simple and underpinned by its values”. The company strongly believes in providing fair terms, both for their customers and their co-workers. The Ikano ‘spirit’, which incorporates individuality, team work and common sense, forms the “overarching guide” for the company. In recognition of this, Ikano Bank in Nottingham received the 2014 Sunday Time’s Award of one of the “Best Companies to work for”. Ikano Bank co-workers enjoy a range of benefits, including social activities outside of the workplace, in order to develop each employee’s personal skills, as well as to enhance the local community. The bank prides itself on the “innovative delivery of information” to co-workers, who are included within the original “family culture” of the company.
Ikano Bank ‘proactively recruits apprentices’ within Nottingham and, in 2014, of the eight apprentices that the company took on, three have been offered permanent positions of employment. Their partnership with the University of Nottingham, through their financial education programme, also means that the company is able to access the vast talent pool on offer from the two world-renowned Universities in Nottingham; the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent.
With regards to the future, profitable growth is vital to Ikano Bank. In the next twelve months, they aim to increase their customer base and product offering whilst expanding partnerships, as well as giving back to the community of Nottingham, which has been pivotal in the growth of the company’s UK business.