Biggest bank logs biggest profits

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Norway’s largest bank, DnB NOR, reported more strong profits this week, ending the year with a result so strong that all shareholders will be paid dividends of NOK 4 per share.

DnB NOR logged operating profits of NOK 21.1 billion (USD 3.5 billion), up from NOK 18.7 billion in 2009. That was more than a billion kroner higher than the bank’s own lofty goals set in 2007.

Fourth-quarter profits hit NOK 5.3 billion, the highest in the bank’s history. CEO Rune Bjerke attributed the quarterly result to “hard work, higher revenues” and a low level of write-downs of loans.

DnB NOR has 2.3 million individual customers, in a country with a population of just under 5 million, underscoring its huge market share. It also claims more than 200,000 business customers and has a presence in 200 communities around the country.

It’s the product of a series of mergers over the years, not least when DnC and Bergen Bank were forced to merge during the bank crisis of the early 1990s. In addition to taking over many small banks around the country, DnB later merged with Sparebanken NOR as well but now is set to drop the “NOR” from its name by next year.

Bjerke vowed the bank’s growth would continue, with “organic growth” high on the agenda. He thinks DnB’s assets and deposits can grow by as much as 6 percent per year without further acquisitions.

Views and News staff