Italian banking giant Intesa Sanpaolo has plans. “We are building the most important, leading European bank,” says Alberto Mancuso, General Manager of Intesa Sanpaolo’s London Hub. With a staff of 235, the hub acts as a conduit for a network of branches in Paris, Madrid, Frankfurt and Warsaw, where a further 135 employees are based.
Earlier this year, Intesa Sanpaolo unveiled a three-year plan to build the number one bank in Europe, basing it on a solid foundation of value creation and sustainability. By 2021, it expects revenue to have risen from €17.8bn to €20.8bn, which it intends to do by focusing on asset management and insurance.
The mission, says Mancuso, is “to be a consistent, reliable, solid and responsible bank”. The London hub has a key role to play in the fulfilment of that ambition – because the strategy is not simply to impose a business model based in Milan, but to adapt to the local market. “The needs of clients in Warsaw are not the same as in Madrid,” he says.
Giampietro Giuseppe, General Manager of Intesa Sanpaolo’s Warsaw branch, agrees. “The culture, experiences and habits are totally different. It takes time to build a relationship.” The office opened in 2013 and the growth potential is big, mainly from infrastructure projects (helped by substantial EU investment) but also from the major Polish sectors of oil and gas. “There are huge opportunities in terms of project financing,” he says.
The Paris branch, which can trace its banking origins back to the early 20th century, has a strong reputation in France, says its General Manager, Adriana Saitta. “Those in the financial sector recognise us as a stable, serious and well-performing bank.” It serves the most important companies by market capitalisation in France and, as these businesses do a lot of business abroad, Intesa Sanpaolo is reaping the benefits. “We are doing projects in South America, Asia and the Middle East,” she adds.
“The mission is to be a consistent, reliable, solid and responsible bank.”
Alberto Mancuso, General Manager of Intesa Sanpaolo’s London Hub
It’s a similar story in Spain. The Madrid office opened in 2005 with the aim of supporting Spanish subsidiaries of Italian companies, says branch head Marco Pizzi. “Now we have a relationship with the most important companies in the Spanish infrastructure and energy sectors.” Because of Spain’s historic links, that has also opened opportunities to work in South America.
But this project goes further than pure profit. Intesa Sanpaolo aims to be a world-class reference model for social and cultural responsibility, helping to alleviate poverty. “We have the culture to grow and we are investing a lot in social responsibility,” says Mancuso. “More than €250m will be dedicated to people who cannot afford loans.”