Another strong quarter

Frank Vang-Jensen

21-07-2021 07:40

This summer, we see many positive signs for the future. The Nordic societies are gradually opening up. Restrictions are easing and vaccination programmes are progressing well.

However, we are still living with COVID-19 and need to be prepared for setbacks due to unpredictable virus variants. At Nordea we continue to deliver on what we have promised – standing by our customers and supporting them in the transition to post-pandemic life.

In the second quarter we continued to grow business and customer activity significantly, and further increased market shares across the Nordics. Mortgage volumes increased by 6%, year on year, and lending to small and medium-sized enterprises increased by 8%. Assets under management increased by 24% to a record high of 387 billion euros.

These positive developments led to strong quarterly results. Operating profit increased to 1,338 million euros from 306 million euros in the same period last year due to strong income growth, firm cost control and low loan losses. Return on equity increased to 11.4%. Income grew by 16%, year on year, and net interest income increased by 13%, the highest growth rate in ten years. We made further progress in growing revenues faster than costs, improving our cost-to-income ratio to 49% from 52% a year ago.

Our capital position continues to be among the strongest in Europe. The Board is ready to decide on a dividend payment of a maximum of 0.72 euro per share in October, after the current restrictions are repealed. We intend to start a share buy-back programme in the fourth quarter.

During the first half of the year we made good progress in two of our priority areas – sustainability and digitalisation. We began implementing our new sustainability strategy across the bank and continued to expand our sustainability offering for all customer segments.

Digitalisation has accelerated in the wake of the pandemic. Our mobile banking app now has more than one billion logins annually, and we have added several new functionalities – with many more to come. We will continue to build on our digital capabilities, but that does not mean prioritising digital development over in-person service.

Nordea is entering the post-pandemic environment in a position of strength. We are well on track to meet our financial targets for 2022. Our focus remains on our three key priorities: to create great customer experiences, drive income growth initiatives and optimise operational efficiency. We are determined to continuously improve our performance and do things a bit better every single day. That is our way forward. For the benefit of our customers, business, shareholders and society at large.

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