Nordic and Baltic regional Awards for Excellence
When good times turn to bad, banks have a chance to prove their mettle. Full-year results for all banks for 2007 inevitably included half a year of benign market conditions followed by a steady worsening as the US sub-prime crisis began to spread. By the end of the first quarter of 2008 – the cut-off of the 12 months that Euromoney’s Awards for Excellence are based on – it became clear that one of the Nordic region’s banks – Nordea – was weathering the storm far better than its peers.
Rivals SEB reported a 42% fall in first-quarter operating profit, Danske Bank posted a 36% drop, Handelsbanken’s profit fell 21%, while profit at DnB Nor dropped a dramatic 65%. But Nordea surprised and delighted investors with a fall in profit of just 1%. Moreover, while its rivals either predicted no growth in profits or lowered expectations for the full year, Nordea was happy to continue to predict a growth in underlying profit of 5% to 10%.