Sweden loses big bank Nordea to Finland

Northern Europe's biggest bank, Nordea, has announced that it is moving its headquarters to Helsinki. The Swedish government's plans to raise taxes for the banking sector are the main reason for the move. By transferring to a Eurozone country Nordea will be subject to the regulations of the European banking union, of which Sweden is not a member. What does the move mean for the countries in question?

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Etelä-Suomen Sanoma (FI) /

A risky catch for Finland

Nordea's decision is a two-edged sword for Finland, Etalö-Suomen Sanomat warns:

“The move of the largest financial company is important for Finland, especially psychologically and in terms of its image. ... The fact is, however, that it could entail more risks than opportunities because it will considerably raise the value of Finland's financial sector. Even if Finland is part of the EU banking Union in which risks are distributed among many countries, national funds are responsible for banks' deposit protection. Hence Finland's responsibilities will rise significantly once Nordea sets up shop here. So let's just hope Nordea continues with its current sound policies.”

Berlingske (DK) /

Denmark would also have raised bank taxes

Berlingske isn't all too disappointed that Nordea isn't moving to Denmark as some had speculated it would do:

“Nordea is moving away from Stockholm because the Swedish government wanted to increase the bank taxes to raise public funding for future crises. Sweden is not a member of the banking union. If Nordea had chosen to come to Copenhagen the Danish government would probably have been forced to increase the bank taxes like the Swedes in order to have a cushion for crises. … It's always difficult to predict the future but Denmark becoming a member of the banking union isn't likely to happen any time soon, and therefore Nordea is better off in Helsinki than in Copenhagen.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Customers turning their backs on the bank

In the eyes of Dagens Nyheter the bank has hurt its own interests:

“Nordea has to be able to explain why it is moving to a country where it's more expensive to do business. But so far the stock market hasn't rewarded the announcement. Since the move was made public the bank's shares have gone down slightly - the stock market doesn't seem to expect any quick profits. The Nordea management has underestimated the customers' reaction. The decision to move is on its way to doing major damage to the brand. This could be expensive for the bank.”