Sweden to present banking package details soon: report

Sweden is said to be on the verge of presenting details of a programme through which state capital could be injected into the country's banking sector, a newspaper reported on Tuesday citing undisclosed sources.

The centre-right coalition government has said it is considering various measures under which the country’s banks might receive capital boosts to ensure they can meet the borrowing requirements of Swedish companies and households.

Business daily Dagens Industri also quoted Sweden’s Financial Markets Minister Mats Odell as saying the programme might include measures along the lines of legislation approved by parliament in October last year.

“That includes everything from hybrid capital injections and other forms of capital injections to participating in issue programmes at market terms,” he was quoted as saying.

Odell also said he believed raising capital in the private sector was likely to be the chief means by which the banks might strengthen their balance sheets, pointing to a new share issue unveiled by Swedish bank Swedbank late last year.

The government last year launched a guarantee scheme for bank lending in order to mitigate the strains of the global credit crunch, but so far only Swedbank of Sweden’s four big banks — which also include Nordea, Handelsbanken and SEB — has chosen to join the programme.


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.