Nordic banks report first quarter results, reorganise

Swedbank and Nordea have reported quarterly results today, suggesting margins continue to improve for financial services companies in the region.

Swedbank reported an increase in profit before impairment charges for its first quarter of 2011. On this basis profit was up by 21% to Sek4.068bn from Sek3.368bn in the fourth quarter last year, and up 24% on the same quarter last year when profit was reported as Sek3.276bn.

Compared to the previous quarterthe Tier 1 capital ratio according to Basel 2 increased to 16.2% from 15.2%. According to transition rules, the Tier 1 capital ratio increased to 11.2% from 11%.

Nordea reported profit before loan losses for the quarter up 1% on the fourth quarter of 2010, to Sek1.245bn from 1.237bn. Against the same period last year profit was up 9% from Sek1.139bn then.

The bank’s core tier 1 capital ratio is reported to stand at 10.7% excluding transition rules, up from 10.3% in the fourth quarter, and 10.1% at this time last year.

Nordea chief executive Christian Clausen said: “I am proud to present another strong quarter. Our relationship strategy and solid operating platform continue to deliver. Income is at record level. Both operating and risk-adjusted profit increased more than 10% from the first quarter last year.”

“European banks face large challenges with the costs of new regulation. Nordea is committed to take the necessary steps to maintain its position in the top league. In our New Normal plan, we will focus on increased ROE and take measures to increase capital and cost efficiency.”

Nordea has also announced a reorganisation into three key business areas: retail banking, wholesale banking and wealth management.

The new organisation will be implemented by 1 June, with areas such as support, products, staff and IT incorporated into these business pillars.

The reorganisation leaves the senior executive management team comprised of the following besides Clausen:

– Michael Rasmussen, head of Retail Banking and Country senior executive of Denmark

– Casper von Koskull, head of Wholesale Banking

– Peter Nyegaard, chief operating officer of Wholesale Banking

– Gunn Wærsted, head of Wealth Management and Country senior executive of Norway

– Torsten Hagen Jørgensen, head of Group Operations and Other Lines of Business

– Fredrik Rystedt, head of Group Corporate Centre, chief financial officer and Country senior executive of Sweden

– Ari Kaperi, head of Group Risk Management, chief risk officer and Country senior executive of Finland.

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