Everything you need to know about Danske Bank


Today I will present a bank that you have surely heard of: Danske Bank. The reason I chose this bank is because it is one of the most important in my country, and I have always been fascinated by its great ambitions. As I was fortunate enough to have a visit and some talks with several of the headquarters staff, now I want to share the most important things you need to know about the history of Danske Bank.


Danske Bank is a Danish bank and one of the largest in the world. Its main markets are concentrated around the four Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, but it also extends to Ireland, Poland, United Kingdom, United States and more. . It was founded in 1871 following the merger of the Aarhus and Kjøbenhavn savings banks. Danske Bank has a strong heritage of being a global financial company with more than 22,000 employees worldwide and serving more than 3.3 million customers.

Now that you know the basics of this bank, I chose to start by summarizing the scandal most of us know, in order to “get over it” and focus on the good sides of the bank. Several of my interviewees confirmed that they would in no way want to hide the situation, but rather be open and transparent about what happened.

The Danske Bank scandal

The Danske Bank scandal is perhaps the biggest banking scandal Denmark has ever seen. It was one of the largest money laundering cases in history, and the bank’s role in the scam has been frankly described as “intentional, negligent or reckless”.

The central allegation is that Danske Bank failed to prevent the laundering of $ 230 billion through its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015, and allowed it to happen. This was revealed in 2018. While I do not welcome this event by any means, I have to say that it is quite remarkable that the bank managed to survive this scandal and maintain a strong position in the market.

Main milestones of Danske Bank

One of the things that struck me about Danske Bank is that it has been able to provide digital solutions to its clients from the start. They follow developments in the field and have made strides in innovation by introducing new products designed for the digital age, such as virtual banking assistants for smartphone banking.

The bank is also the first commercial bank in Denmark to be publicly traded, with its shares traded on Euronext Copenhagen. Since 1990, Danske Bank has successfully navigated through 10 mergers and acquisitions, with Fokus Bank, National Irish Bank and Handelsbanken, among others. The bank is still strong in 2021.

2008-2009 financial crisis

During the period 2008-2009, Danske Bank became one of the worst affected banks in Europe due to problems with its business activities in non-European countries and its exposure to mortgages which ultimately resulted in a loss of 8 billion Danish kroner (approximately $ 1.2 billion).

Danske Bank has been able to stay afloat and thrive by implementing agile and adaptive business models. In hindsight, this saved them from bankruptcy and allowed them to become one of the leading banks in Europe. The innovative strategy helped Danske Bank to expand internationally as it was involved in many European countries.

One of the most interesting things I have learned from speaking with the staff of Danske Bank at headquarters is that they don’t seem to be ashamed of the scandal their company caused ten years ago. year. They have come to terms with the situation and the judgments that follow, with the resolve to do business with integrity and reliability, now and in the future.

Posted on December 18, 2021


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NB This English text is an unofficial translation of the Swedish original of the invitation …