Danske chief apologises over crisis
Danske Bank chief executive officer Eivind Kolding has apologised for the bank's role in the financial crisis.
Mr Kolding, who served on Danske's board for 10 years before becoming chief executive officer in February, said lenders including Danske were blinded in the run-up to the crisis, believing the economic boom and the increases in asset values would continue, as evidenced by Danske's costly investment in Ireland. The bank bought National Irish Bank in 2004.
The bank lost focus on long-term values in a push to meet investors' expectations of growth and gains, Mr Kolding wrote in a commentary in the Danish newspaper Politiken.
Mr Kolding defended the Danish government's response and that of the banks once the crisis emerged, saying lenders sought to ensure taxpayer money wasn't used to support the industry.
To correct its errors, Danske Bank has altered its bonus structure to discourage focus on short-term gains and will measure progress in the future by customers' satisfaction rather than growth, Mr Kolding wrote.
The bank also is discontinuing the more complicated financial products that helped trigger the crisis, he wrote.
Still, Danske's profitability is low and the bank takes a loss on more than 40 per cent of retail customers, triggering low ratings from credit rating companies and higher funding costs, Mr Kolding wrote in the commentary.
He warned that, as a result, pricing in the future will more accurately reflect costs on an individual customer basis.