Swedish banks consider lawsuit against Norwegian competitor

Sweden’s major banks want to sue the DNB Nor bank to recoup losses on Norwegian government bonds purchased from Norway’s largest bank.

The banks contest that DNB Nor had inside information about the Norwegian government’s plans for addressing the financial crisis, leading DNB Nor to sell large quantities of Norwegian state bonds just days before the measures were announced.

In addition to Sweden’s Handelsbanken, Swedbank, SEB, and Nordea banks, Norway’s Fokus bank is also considering a lawsuit, reports the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang.

According to the economic news website E24, none of the banks want to comment on the matter, but instead point to an investigation launched by the Norwegian financial authorities into whether or not DNB Nor violate insider trading rules.

According to reports in the Norwegian press, DNB Nor sold bonds worth 2.6 billion Swedish kronor ($342 million) on October 9th and 10th, generating a profit of about 80 million kronor.

The value of the bonds dropped significantly just a few days later when the Norwegian government announced its package of measures to combat the effects of the financial crisis.

Nordea, which is Norway’s second largest bank behind DNB Nor, as well as Swedbank, are also among a number of banks that are dissatisfied with Norway’s crisis package, alleging that it’s in tailor made to benefit DNB Nor.


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.