OSLO (Reuters) – DNB, Norway’s largest bank, posted better-than-expected first-quarter earnings on Thursday, reflecting a strong Norwegian economy and a high level of activity in the corporate market following an end to pandemic lockdowns.
Net profit rose to 7.56 billion crowns ($806.8 million) for the January-March quarter from 5.89 billion a year earlier, beating the 6.10 billion expected by analysts in a poll compiled by the bank.
“Once again, we have seen that Norway as a country sets itself apart from other countries, with a robust economy despite international turmoil,” Chief Executive Officer Kjerstin Braathen said in a statement.
“A number of international customers have sought to move to DNB, and see the bank as a safe haven in an unsettled world,” she added, without giving more specifics.
Norway’s central bank resumed raising rates in September, after a series of cuts in 2020 had left the country’s key policy rate at an unprecedented zero percent.
The rate is 0.75% currently but more rate hikes are expected, which will help DNB’s prospects as it can charge customers more for lending them money.
Other Nordic banks have so far reported better-than-expected results, with Sweden’s SEB and Handelsbanken posting on Wednesday strong income from mortgages and corporate clients alike while loan losses remained marginal.
On Thursday, Finland’s Nordea and Sweden’s Swedbank also reported stronger forecast-beating profits.
($1 = 9.3707 Norwegian crowns)
(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, editing by Terje Solsvik and Subhranshu Sahu)