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Denmark I Estonia I Finland I Iceland I Latvia I Lithuania I Norway I Sweden

BEST BANK : Sampo Bank
BEST DEBT HOUSE: Barclays Capital

Among fixed-income investors in Europe, Sampo Bank is probably best known as the institution that put Finland on the map of covered bond issuers in 2005, with the highly successful debut transaction from Sampo Housing Bank in September the first jumbo deal from a Finnish borrower. But as well as enjoying the publicity that arose from its activities as a pioneer in the covered bond market, Finland’s third-largest bank had a strong year in its core business in 2005, with pre-tax profits up by 21%, cost-income ratio falling and return on equity rising. Strong growth in retail and corporate lending in Finland more than compensated for the pressure on loan margins, with housing loan growth of 26% in the domestic market outpacing the national market growth of 17%, helping Sampo to increase its share of the Finnish residential mortgage market from 14.3% to 15.5%. Overseas, Sampo opened an office in Stockholm in 2005 and continued to build its franchise in the Baltic republics – most notably in Lithuania.

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