Den Danske Bank



I'm back for another stab at visiting Den Danske Bank, Denmark's largest bank with over $6 billion in revenues. Four years ago I showed up at the four-story head office and was shooed away to a building several blocks away to meet with Peter Sander from the company's information department. Sander, who couldn't have cared less about what I was doing, acted like I was wasting his valuable time. He brushed off my questions and request for a tour of the head office. Why was I so interested in having a look inside the place? Located across the street from Denmark's central bank, the head office is a designated landmark structure.

My second visit ends up being just as disappointing as the first. When entering the building one can't help but be wowed by the ornate marbled entryway which greets visitors and makes you wonder about other unseen delights. Unfortunately, that's also where the security guard/receptionist is stationed. I explain who I am and ask him to dial up the CEO's secretary to find out who ended up with my letter of introduction sent a month earlier. The guard places the call and learns the secretary isn't in today. I ask him to try public relations or corporate communications but he refuses because "you don't have a name". I tell him, "I know I don't have a name, that's what I'm trying to do--find out my whose my contact person!" The guard seems like a nice enough guy but he just doesn't seem to get it. It's not like he's busy or doesn't have the time because during my 15 minutes of standing there not one person walked in or out. "Are you a receptionist here?" I ask, "Yes", he answers. "Part of your job is to receive visitors, right?" Again he answers "Yes". Exasperated I ask, "Well, I'm a visitor and how come you're not receiving me?" It's all to no avail including repeatedly refusing my request to use a phone to call the operator.

So, what's my impression of Denmark's biggest bank? Can it be fair to make a judgement on a large company such as Den Danske with its thousands of employees after coming into contact with only two? Yep, people do it everyday. If the bank had been on the ball someone could have contacted me or informed the guard of my pending arrival. Then again, maybe the bank did nothing on purpose. During my visit four years ago I had asked to see the CEO Knud Sorensen's office and one of the reasons given for denying my request was "he's a very private person". I immediately quipped "Well, if he's such a private person why is he running a big publicly held company?"