Our history

Realising dreams for 200 years

We have been helping our customers realise their dreams and aspirations for 200 years.

That makes us proud – because when our customers succeed, we succeed. 

Follow the timeline to take a journey back in time with us through two centuries in the banking business. 

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Roots dating back to 1820

Our family tree of around 300 banks includes some of the oldest banks in the Nordic region. These banks were pioneers in the establishment of a commercial banking industry.

Sparekassen for Kjøbenhavn og Omegn
Denmark 1820

Sweden 1832  

Christiania Kreditkasse
Norway 1848  

Föreningsbanken i Finland / Suomen Yhdyspankki
Finland 1862


New customers and employees are welcomed

Nordea is welcoming new customers and employees in Norway as the acquisition of Danske Bank’s personal customer and private banking business is approved by authorities. 

Oslo headquarters


Making banking easy

In 2023 we had more than 1.4 billion logins to our digital services, and more than 4.6 million digitally active customers.

Woman makes mobile payment digital only


10 years digital anniversary

From its first interfaces and features to its current form as an all-inclusive and personalised mobile app, the journey of the mobile bank throughout the years reveals true determination to make Nordea a leading digital bank.

First Nordea mobile app

Diversity charters signed

Nordea has signed diversity charters in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Poland, joining over 12,000 signatories in a push for more diverse workplaces.

young woman with rainbow flag


Nordea Investor Speed Dating

Our first Nordea Investor Speed Dating events takes place where we match Nordic startups with global investors. Today, we have events for all the different growth stages of young companies: pre-seed events, seed-stage events and events for scaleups.

Investor speed dating Nrlyze på Techarenan 2024

Celebrating 200 years of banking

In 2020 we celebrate our 200th anniversary of helping customers realise their dreams and aspirations. Nordea’s first predecessor bank, Sparekassen for Kjøbenhavn og Omegn, opened on 1 May, 1820.



Frank Vang-Jensen new CEO

Frank Vang-Jensen is appointed new President and Group CEO of Nordea on 5 September 2019, after Casper von Koskull had announced earlier in the summer that he would step down.


Acquisition in Norway

The acquisition of Gjensidige Bank ASA is completed. The transaction underlines Nordea’s ambition to grow in the Norwegian market.

Oslo city in sunset


Principles for Responsible Banking

In collaboration with the United Nations and 27 other banks from around the world, Nordea participates in the launch of the Principles for Responsible Banking at a UN round table summit in Paris. The principles aim to align the financial sector with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement. Nordea is the only Nordic bank among the 28 participating banks.

Nordea signs UN’s Principles for Responsible Banking

Member of the Banking Union

Nordea was re-domiciled to Finland on the 1 of October 2018. As a member of the banking union we are now subject to the same regulatory framework as our European peers. Our new group head office is located in the Vallila district of Finland’s capital Helsinki. Day-to-day operations carry on as usual in all countries. 

Helsinki skyline

Apple Pay and Google Pay

We started offering all our customers the option of paying contactless with Apple Pay in the summer of 2018. At the end of October we also started offering Google Pay, now catering to the needs of iPhone users and Android-based device users alike.

Contactless smartphone payment


Entering the green bond market

We issue our first green bond, signifying our increased ambition level in sustainability

Aerial view of windmills in summer forest in Finland

IT innovation award

Nordea wins the 2017 Global Retail Banker “IT Innovation of the Year” award for our Simplification programme, part of our ongoing efforts to create a truly digital bank by coming together as One Nordea with common processes, products and systems

New savings app

Nordea Liv and Norwegian fintech start-up Spiff enter into a cooperation agreement to develop a social savings app – with just a few keystrokes, you can set aside money for a trip, your future dream home or your pension

New legal structure

Cross‑border mergers between Nordea Bank AB (publ) and its subsidiary banks in Denmark, Finland and Norway take effect as we simplify our legal structure to better reflect the Nordic way in which we operate



New leading Baltic bank

Nordea and DNB agree to combine their operations in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to create a leading bank in the Baltics with strong Nordic roots.


Tallin Estonia

New digital unit

Nordea establishes a new Group Digital unit as part of our ambition to become a truly digital bank



Nordic + ideas = Nordea

Through mergers, 300 banks are reduced to 80 banks in the 1970s and to 30 banks in the 1980s. By the 1990s, there are only four major banks left. These four banks merge and all operations are conducted under the brand name of Nordea from 2001. 

Nordea comes from putting together the words “Nordic” and “ideas”. The name signifies how we share and develop good Nordic ideas to create high-quality solutions based on common Nordic values such as openness, equality and caring for the environment.

Nordea is created from the merger of these four Nordic banks:


Heading east

During the 1990s we establish ourselves in countries east of the Baltic Sea. The first Estonian branch opens in Tallinn in 1995. In 1999 we acquire Bank Komunalny in Gdynia, Poland. The same year we become the only shareholder of a Latvian bank, and a year later we receive permission to start operations in Lithuania.



Mobile banking – 1980s style

Mobile banking is in use in Finland already in 1986, allowing customers to pay their bills and access their accounts with their phones. The service, KotiSYP, is even designed to be used with the first mobile phones. It’s not surprising that the BBC wants to present the service as a future innovation in their Money Programme. A BBC journalist travels from London to test the service in the middle of the Baltic Sea. The service functions very well.

Old pcs

Office in Beijing

In 1984,  we open an office in Beijing.


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Umbrella service

In 1964, Norwegian Christiania Bank og Kreditkasse starts an umbrella service at its head office with a sign that says “Borrow when rainy, return when sunny”. This becomes so popular that other branches soon start a similar service.

Girl with umbrella

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Bank buses: extra service for pregnant woman

In the 1950s, it is quite common for bank buses to provide services where there are no branches. Although these services are more limited compared to what a branch can offer, one bank bus goes out of its way to provide an extra service: giving a customer and his pregnant wife a ride to the hospital so she can give birth.

Bank bus


Banks serve as shelters

During the Second World War, the staff of Finnish Kansallis-Osake-Pankki’s Hamina branch use the basement of a demolished house as its temporary premises. Despite continuous air raids, customers are always served, no matter what happens. When an alarm sounds, ledgers, archives and money are taken to the boiler room, which also serves as a shelter for both staff and customers.

Finnish Kansallis-Osake-Pankki’s Hamina branch use the basement of a demolished house as its temporary premises


Modern workplaces

After the First World War, as commercial trade flourishes and cash constantly changes hands, simpler and safer ways to transfer money are needed. Swedish Postgirot, which later becomes part of Nordea, is a pioneer when it launches payment services in 1925. This workplace is also considered one of the most modern in the Nordic countries with a dining room, sun terrace and a sickroom staffed by trained employees.

Mysterious bank manager

When the branch of Kansallis-Osake-Pankki opens in Petsamo, Finland  in 1925,  the shortest journey to get mail from the headquarters in Helsinki takes 6 to 7 days. There is no vault, but the sporty, resourceful bank manager solves the problem by using a backpack. Customers often wonder why he always has the backpack with him wherever he goes.

branch of Kansallis-Osake-Pankki opens in Petsamo


Home visits

In the 1900s bank tellers make personal visits to customers’ homes to empty their savings boxes. The first Finnish money box is introduced in 1902. Savings boxes are also a success in Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

First female branch manager

Esteri Heikinheimo becomes the first female branch manager of a Finnish commercial bank in 1911. In line with common practice in less populated areas, the branch is located in her home. In 1918 Swedish Wermlandsbanken opens a branch in a factory – and the bank manager spends half his time working for the company.

First female branch manager Esteri Heikinheimo behind her desk


Liquor as security for loans

Norwegian Christiania Kreditkasse’s regulations specify that collateral used to secure loans must fit into the category “not easily perishable goods”. Soon after the bank opens its doors in 1848, people apply for loans hoping that everything from liquor, footwear, herring and cast-iron goods will qualify as security. The first loan application comes from merchant Evensen, who puts up 3,862 litres of vodka, 70 casks of herring and 6,215 pounds of vitriol as security. His loan is granted, but only the liquor is accepted as security. Shoemaker Isaachsen is less fortunate: his loan, with footwear as security, is rejected.

Bottle of liquor