Swedbank boss bows out on full salary

Under-fire chairman Carl-Eric Stålberg is to be replaced, Swedbank announced on Friday but will to continue to receive his 3,1 million kronor ($441,000) yearly earnings until early 2011.

Swedbank boss bows out on full salary

Stålberg, who has been chairman since 2003, has been widely criticised for the bank’s investment in the Baltic region amid ongoing losses for the concern.

“It was necessary to get rid of him,” said Günther Mårder, head of the Swedish Shareholders’ Association (Aktiespararna), to news agency TT.

Swedbank is expected to report losses of around 10 billion kronor for 2009.

Yet, following the announcement, Stålberg received gratitude for his six-year service from the head of the bank’s biggest owner, Anders Sundström, CEO of insurance giant Folksam.

“I have had and continue to have have full confidence in him,” he said.

Unusually for a chairman, Stålberg is employed by the bank and, in accordance with his contract, steps down from his position on full pay until he turns 60 in January 2011.

His annual Swedbank salary is reported to amount to 3,1 million kronor ($441,000).

Swedbank will appoint a new board at their annual general meeting on March 26th in Stockholm.

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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.