My name is Phil Walker, I am 52 years old, married with two teenage sons. I have lived in Chesterfield for nearly 30 years and have worked in the town for 25 of those.
Handelsbanken offered me the opportunity to open up a new branch for the bank in Chesterfield and become its branch manager in 2012. In the short time we have been open, we have grown our individual and corporate business, and from an initial team of four, we now have eight local bankers in our team.
1. What are your best memories of the town?
Apart from launching our Handelsbanken branch, the football team’s successes over the last 20 years, particularly its FA Cup run in 1997. I remember Chatsworth Road being lined with people welcoming the fans and team buses back from the Old Trafford semi-final. Given the club’s recent sad demise, that all seems so long ago. Also watching Derbyshire in Queen’s Park with my dad in the halcyon days of the 1970s and 1980s, when the county supplied so many players to the England team.
2. Which developments do you think will most benefit the town?
I think the Waterside development could transform the town – from a living and leisure point of view - but also giving the town some much needed quality office space. I also look forward to seeing the Co-op building being brought back into use.
3. What are the positives of running a business here?
Apart from the geographical benefits with excellent transport links, the town also has a very supportive business community. There is a sense that everybody wants fellow businesses to succeed, and that if the town is thriving, everybody can prosper.
4. Why did you choose to base your business in Chesterfield?
Handelsbanken recognised that there was demand for our local relationship-based banking model in Chesterfield, leading it to open a new branch there. It has proved to be a fantastic move for the bank, as we continue to develop long-term relationships with good quality businesses and individuals.
5. Who or what do you turn to in Chesterfield for business advice?
I think that Chesterfield has some very high-quality professionals who can provide good business advice and guidance. Destination Chesterfield and its Chesterfield Champions initiative provides an excellent environment to learn from lots of different local businesses with varying levels of experience.