During the presentation of Nordea’s first-quarter 2017 results today, CEO Casper von Koskull addressed a few recent myths about the bank.
Myth 1: Nordea is a risk for the whole Swedish economy.
“This is a very complex area, are we posing a risk to society? There is risk in banking, there is risk in finance, but I think we have broken the link between banking and the taxpayer,” he says
Casper continues by explaining that an important lesson learned after the financial crisis ten years ago was that “capital is king”, and that we all need well-capitalised banks to serve society, but also to ensure that it never happens again that society, taxpayers and government must pay for banks.
He explains that Nordea has addressed this issue by becoming a very stable bank. After the financial crisis, Nordea hasn’t had a single quarter with a negative result. “That is how stable we are as a bank because of the capital we have in place,” he says.
Myth 2: Banks are so very profitable.
“Yes, we are profitable, but banks need to be profitable to be able to serve our customers and to be able to invest in new technology and products for them. But are we excessive when it comes to profits? We are in fact average. The numbers are only large because we are large,” Casper says.
The return on equity is, in fact, slightly below the average of the largest companies on the Stockholm stock exchange.
Myth 3: Nordea is undertaxed.
“I wish somebody would make the comparison about who actually pays taxes. The last ten years we have paid nine billion euro in corporate tax. That is excluding the social tax we pay for our employees because we are a big employer as well. Nine billion is what we have paid in only corporate tax alone,” he says.
“I think we should start talking about these issues more openly and in a pragmatic way because the only way we can succeed as a society is if we have a functioning financial system,” Casper adds.
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