• Sweden's news in English

'Bank customers need to toughen up': minister

The Local · 31 Jan 2013, 12:34

Published: 31 Jan 2013 12:34 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

On Wednesday, Swedbank announced a huge profit increase for the year-end quarter in 2012, raking in 4.98 billion kronor ($781 million), up from 1.75 billion the year before, prompting it to nearly double its dividend from 5.30 kronor per share to 9.90 kronor per share.

Partially state-owned Nordea also reported a 19 percent profit hike for 2012, resulting in a 30 percent increase in its dividend pay-out.

Sweden’s Financial Markets Minister Peter Norman said the banks’ high profits showed customers were still not tough enough with their banks.

”Profits have reached such heights that it shows there isn’t a good balance between sellers and buyers,” Norman told the TT news agency on Wednesday.

”If the customers approached the bank on more equal terms they’d be better at negotiation interest rates and fees.”

On Thursday, the SEB bank joined the swelling ranks of high-profitability Swedish banks, lifting its share price by 0.8 percent on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.

Its operating profit amounted to 4 billion kronor in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to 3.3 billion the year before. The full year operating profit reached 15.4 billion kronor, the bank noted in a statement.

"We have attracted close to 300 large corporate clients in Merchant Banking and for the first time been recognized as the leading corporate bank in the Nordic region,” CEO Annika Falkenberg said in a statement.

The board proposed doubling SEB's dividend to 2.75 kronor per share, making it the third bank to reward shareholders amid swelling profits.

Anders Borg, Sweden’s finance minister, has warned the banks repeatedly over the past year that they face tougher regulations. Financial commentators noted this week, however, that he had dampened the tone of his critique.

“We were worried that if they paid out such high dividends, they wouldn't be able to increase their capital,” he told TT on Wednesday.

"But now we can see tangible increases in the banks’ capital reserves.”

Story continues below…

Borg did, however, put his weight behind Norman’s reticence concerning bank customers.

”We have to keep talking about housing loans. I don’t think it’s reasonable to keep profits up through mortgage lending,” Borg said.

TT/The Local/at

Follow The Local on Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

15:47 January 31, 2013 by Beavis
Perhaps its time Sweden had stronger rules and regulations for their banks, or do they want history repeating itself once more. How is it that one memeber of staff can do a transaction for you and another in the same branch is unable and gives the old "thats not possible"
Today's headlines
This is the new top boss of Swedish Ericsson
Börje Ekholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Telecoms giant Ericsson has appointed a new CEO after a turbulent year for the company.

These are Sweden's best universities: ranking
A new university ranking has been released. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

At least according to this global ranking, which picks 12 Swedish universities among the top-1000.

Swedish pharmacies restrict paracetamol sales for teens
The move is intended to cut paracetamol overdoses. Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

Sweden's pharmacies are banning teens under 18 from buying more than one pack of pills at a time.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

Rwandan genocide suspect held in Sweden
A memorial centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

A man has been arrested in Sweden suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which claimed 800,000 lives.

Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available