Danske Bank to phase out local business in Baltics

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Danske Bank is to stop serving customers in the Baltic states gradually, said Zane Strade, the spokeswoman of the Danske Bank branch in Latvia on April 26. 

"Exit from serving local companies and individuals will be implemented gradually. It means that the bank will stop opening new accounts for local customers," said Strade, adding that the existing customers will not have any immediate changes.

The current loans and deposits will be served within the current obligations, and also other service agreements remain in force. Existing day-to-day private banking and business products will continue to be supported until further notice. Danske Bank will not, however, expand customer relationships or provide new loans and credits.

"Local customers do not need to take any action now, as they will be served as usual. Danske Bank will inform its local customers about any coming changes in the customer relationship well in advance," the bank said in its statement.

The bank’s representatives announced that Danske Bank in the Baltic countries will focus exclusively on supporting subsidiaries of Nordic customers and global corporates with a significant Nordic footprint.

"The decision is a strategic one based on our overall ambition of focusing on customers in the Nordic region. Therefore, we continue to align business activities in the Baltics accordingly. This way we can deliver most value to our customers operating in the Nordics through expertise and global services and solutions," says Frederik Bjorn, Executive Vice president, Business Banking, International.

He said that the bank will harmonize its value propositions and service model across borders to be the same in the Baltics as, for example, in Germany or Poland. "The decision will, of course, affect our business volumes in the Baltic countries, however, we will take a consistent approach in all three countries, and we will continue to serve our local customers for some time as well as ensure that all our current obligations are fulfilled," he said.

Danske's reputation in the Baltic states was also hit by money-laundering scandals involving its Estonian operation.

The bank also said that from now on, Danske Bank in the Baltic countries will no longer announce financial results on a stand-alone basis. The financial performance of the Baltic branches will be consolidated into the Group’s financial reports.

Danske Bank Latvia is the Latvian branch of Denmark's Danske Bank. The Latvian branch became part of the Danske Bank Group in 2007. At the end of 2017, the Latvian branch of Danske Bank was the ninth biggest bank in Latvia by assets.

In 2015 the bank sold its retail operations in Latvia and Lithuania to Swedbank. 

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