Swedbank profits up on the year

Swedish bank Swedbank has reported first-quarter net profits of 2.91 billion kronor ($430 million), a 28 percent increase on the same period in 2006.

The bank, formerly Föreningssparbanken, has major operations in Sweden and the Baltics. It attributed the rise in profits to positive developments in its Swedish Banking, Baltic Banking and Swedbank Markets divisions.

Net profit was stable compared to the fourth quarter 2006.

“2007 has begun positively for Swedbank. Net interest income increased for the fourth consecutive quarter at the same time that net commissions remained strong,” said CEO Jan Lidén in a statement.

Lidén added that concerns about an overheating economy in the Baltics were having an effect on the bank.

“This has led to signs of a slowdown in lending growth in the region. Our judgment of the development in the Baltics is continued positive.”

The company added that the takeover of TAS-Kommerzbank of Ukraine was expected to be complete during the third quarter.


Swedish bank’s IT fault puts customer accounts in the red

A technical problem at Sweden's Swedbank on Thursday night gave customers a nasty surprise, with their account balances inexplicably going negative, payments impossible, and Swish payments no longer working.

Swedish bank's IT fault puts customer accounts in the red

By 11.30pm, more than 2,000 Swedbank customers had reported the fault to the site Downdetector, and the problem was still not solved by 17.00pm on Friday. 

“We have an ongoing IT disruption where certain customers see an incorrect balance on their accounts,” a message on the bank’s app read. “The reason is a planned update to our internal systems which went wrong. We apologise, of course, for that and are working as quickly as possible to fix the problem.” 

The Swish payment service has also been affected, with the service, which is owned collectively by Swedish banks, reporting on its site that there was a “technical disruption at Swedbank and Sparbank which might affect Swish payments from these banks”. 

Some Swedbank customers posted their negative account balances on Twitter, expressing shock at the incorrect figures. 

The disruption comes at the worst possible time for many Swedes. Many people are paid on the 25th of the month, meaning this Friday marks the start of the payday weekend. Many will have also scheduled their bill payments for this Friday. 

Marko Saric from Malmö saw his account balance drop by 1.2 million kronor, going half a million kronor into the red. 

“It’s just totally crazy,” he told SVT. “We were going to go out and shop for the weekend. It’s lovely weather and the kids want to go out, but we can’t use our card. We’ve got no cash. Everything is in the bank.” 

“You’re just completely blocked. Colleagues need to make emergency food parcels for you. It’s just crazy that something like this should happen.” 

In its statement, the bank assured customers that their money was “secure”, and that the bank still had the correct information on what their account balance should be. 

“Customers who feel that they have suffered economic damage as a result of the disruption should contact the bank,” the message said.