Chesterfield Champions

Champion of the Week

Karen Claydon, Branch Manager – Handelsbanken

Handelsbanken was established in Sweden in 1871, Our success rests on strong relationships with satisfied customers, and we continuously strive to improve.  That’s why we are delighted to have been rated top for satisfaction 15 years running in an independent satisfaction survey for personal and business banking customers (EPSI Rating Group, 2009-2023).

Handelsbanken believes that local branches are best placed to make decisions relating to their customers.  Our customers benefit from dealing with people they know, who know the local market.  Customers have direct day-to-day access to an experienced branch team with whom they often build a personal relationship.

I am responsible for leading the Branch and we have a team of 10 staff.  I have been with the branch for almost 3 years and the organisation for 17.

How would you describe Chesterfield and North Derbyshire, using only three words?

Inclusive, people – centred, underrated

What are your favourite places to visit in Chesterfield and why?

Queens Park is a fabulous outdoor space, great for sitting back and watching a bit of cricket, or bringing the children to play in the park area and enjoy an ice-cream.

The town also has some great bars and restaurants which have a friendly inclusive feel.  I also like to visit the theatre and the winding wheel for a variety of events, particularly comedy related.

How is your business or organisation becoming more sustainable?

In 2023, Handelsbanken launched a Group-wide overall climate transition plan with a strong focus on our core business,  real estate and mortgages. This strategy focuses on both our own operations and how we help clients to meet their own climate targets and can help drive best practice.The bank has a broad product and service offering which targets energy efficiency in real estate, such as climate and energy loans for both private and corporate customers, green mortgages, third-party collaborations on energy advice, solar cell offerings and more.

More detail on this, and our ambitious net zero target, which is ahead of much of the rest of the industry, is available in our Annual Sustainability Report on our website.

We are responsible in the branch for all the Bank’s business conducted in our area.  This way of working gives us the chance to contribute to different local investments.  By being and operating where the customer is, we have the opportunity to really get to know them and our community.

Why do you love working or doing business in Chesterfield or North Derbyshire?

The people make the town what it is.  My fellow professionals genuinely do care about the town and there’s real passion and desire for the town to succeed.

How are you, your business or your team supporting local people?

We pride ourselves on our local approach, with local decisions, often finding bespoke solutions for our customers. Because our entire approach rests on personal relationship banking tailored to the needs of each individual customer, all our support is local.  Handelsbanken is therefore able to offer a banking service which is closely aligned to the needs of the local market.

Which upcoming development do you think will have the greatest impact on the town and why?

Revitalising the key town centre sites and creating better connectivity between key public spaces will improve the visitor experience and through modernisation of key landmarks Chesterfield will become a great town centre to enjoy.

What is your vision for Chesterfield and North Derbyshire in 2030? What do you think the town needs to achieve this?

My Vision is for Chesterfield and North Derbyshire to become a destination for both visitors and residents alike, with plenty on offer from an entertainment perspective and to be a thriving centre, to live and to work.

To achieve this, we need to showcase independent businesses, invest in local communities and enhance the entertainment offering and use the town’s culture and heritage to attract people to visit and stay.


Local relationship bank, based on satisfied customers, financial strength and sustainable values.

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