Key Takeaways After a Large-Scale Banking Crisis

In April 2018 we spent more than a week at the Argenta headquarters in Antwerp to provide acute crisis management and crisis communications support. Belgians fifth largest bank was affected by a large IT crisis after a system migration, causing their online applications to be unavailable for multiple days in a row. They called our team for assistance and we jumped right in.

Even for us, the Metro crisis at Argenta was a rather long one. Colleague Stijn Pieters and myself were on location in Antwerp for about a week and afterwards colleague Hugo Marynissen and myself were involved in the follow-up phase. Additionally, we always had our back office team on stand by in Ghent for when we needed support. We’re talking about two weeks of crisis here!

There’s a lot we have experienced and learned during and after the Metro crisis. My two key takeaways:

  1. During the acute phase, Stijn and myself always prepared ourselves before sunrise. That means that we set out our PM goals, strategic goals for the day (based on solid advice from our analysis, of course) before heading to Antwerp at 6 am. This was tremendously helpful for us: we were able to fully concentrate on providing support, execution and reaching our goals. Looking back to our notes from that week, we can only conclude that we successfully realised almost all of our planned actions. All credits go to the wonderful people we worked with though! Why?
  2. As strategic advisors during crisis, it’s difficult to accomplish anything if there’s bad leadership. We can honestly say that this was not the case at Argenta. Argenta’s executives distributed leadership and left room for ideas, initiatives and proactivity. We could clearly see a high level of involvement in the eyes of everyone we worked with. I heard people canceling movie nights, helping their colleagues from other departments and even proposing to join the Contact Center teams (even if they had never done that before). This is highly remarkable. It’s truly a testimony of how Argenta’s leadership style empowered the entire organisation.

Colleague Stijn was asked to write a short piece about his experiences during the Metro crisis for an internal magazine. Argenta was so kind to let us share the finished article (in Dutch).


Article for an internal magazine
Type: PDF, 192Kb

Language: Dutch
Provided by Argenta
This article is republished on our blog with permission of Argenta.
Note: we encourage you to share this blog post. Do refer to its page link and (please) don’t link straight to the PDF article when sharing.


About the author
Robbert Meulemeester is a crisis adviser and strategist at PM • Risk Crisis Change. At PM he developed the Zombie Game. Robbert is addicted to American football, riding roller coasters and running.

ℹ️ If you’d like to learn more about Robbert, click here.

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