Swedish Banks

This is the four main categories of Swedish banks and operators on the market for banks in Sweden today: Swedish commercial banks, foreign banks, savings banks and co-operative banks. In the last month of year 2010, 114 banks were registered in Sweden. Commercial banks and foreign bank branches with business in Sweden has increased, by 19 banks from the year 2000, to 62 in the end of year 2010. Among many factors, like EU open borders, a larger number of foreign banks have been established in Sweden. Also commercial banks in Sweden have increased in numbers, including newly opened banks using new technologies as well as firms from the financial sector that have expanded their business to banking.

Commercial Banks in Sweden

There are three categories of Commercial banks in Swedish, the main category includes these four banks: Nordea, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB), Svenska Handelsbanken and Swedbank. These dominant banks are important players on the financial market in Sweden today. Savings banks that have been converted into joint stock companies are the second category; Swedbank is often a shareholder in this category of banks. The third category consists of Swedish commercial banks with a spread business focus and ownership structure. The remaining smaller commercial banks were formed during the 1990’s and after that. These smaller banks are mainly focused on the retail banking market and distribute their products and services online.

Savings Banks in Sweden

There are many independent savings banks in Sweden. They are generally small and active in regional or local bank markets. A majority of savings banks in Sweden operate in co-operation with Swedbank, the bank provide technical solutions and receive provision of provided banking products and services. Savings banks have reduced in number due to mergers of many small savings banks into medium sized operators.

Co-operative Banks in Sweden

Co-operative banks in Sweden are a form of economic association, the purpose of a co-operative bank is to produce bank related services for its registered members. In order to become a member, and to be able to use the bank services of a co-operative bank, the customer must pay the member share. In the last month of 2010 there were only two small co-operative banks in Sweden; this is not a big segment of the Swedish bank market.

Foreign banks in Sweden

In the year 1986 the first foreign bank in Sweden was established; this was the year when banks outside of Sweden were first allowed to open subsidiaries in the country. During the financial crisis in the beginning of the 1990’s foreign banks in Sweden declined in numbers. Since 1990, when foreign banks were first permitted to open branches in Sweden, they have steady increased in numbers. Foreign banks most commonly focus on the commercial banking. In the last month of 2010 there were 29 foreign banks registered in Sweden. These numbers will surly increase since international businesses, companies and banks now are discovering international tax advantages with having company structures based out of Sweden. The Danish bank Danske Bank is the largest foreign bank operating on the Swedish market; they acquired a larger Swedish bank (Östgöta Enskilda Bank) in 1997 and are the number five largest bank in the country today.

Banks and Financial Groups in Sweden

Banks and financial groups in Sweden, composed of the leading banks, have developed into strong players with a large-scale of international activities since the 1990’s. These international activities are mainly focused on business areas such as life insurance, fund management and mortgage lending. These areas of business are becoming an increasingly important part of the banking groups’ income and activities alongside traditional business. This has also resulted in expansions geographically, especially to the eastern Nordic and Baltic regions, but also to wider international market penetrations.

Below you will find some banking related information about Sweden, information on the biggest banks and banking groups:


With estimated more than 32,000 employees and 1,400 bank branch offices in all the Nordic counties, this is the largest financial company in the Nordic region. The number of bank branch offices has been decreased since online banking has become available to customers. This banking group includes leading banks in all the Nordic countries. The Bank’s lending consists of 75 % of lending from countries outside of Sweden. Operations include one of the largest companies in the finance market, major players in fund management and mortgage credits. The credit transfer payment system named Plusgirot is also owned by Nordea.


Swedbank has a large network of bank branch offices (around 320) all around Sweden. Swedbank is also in close co-operation with the independent savings banks and partly owned banks in the savings bank category. The east neighboring Baltic region is a market that Swedbank have penetrated with large scale activities and today there are over 200 bank branch offices in the region. The group includes Sweden’s largest fund management company (Swedbank Robur) and one of the largest mortgage finance institutions (Swedbank Hypotek).

Svenska Handelsbanken:

Svenska Handelsbanken (SHB) has about 460 branch offices in the whole of Sweden. The bank has also expanded in the Nordic region and Great Britain in the past 20 years, both through acquisitions and by opening branch offices. The mortgage institution Stadshypotek is fully owned by the bank and is a major player on the mortgage credit market in Sweden. Svenska Handelsbanken also has large scale operations in the fund management and finance segment.

Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB):

This financial group has about 17,000 employees and has its origins in Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB). SEB has in recent years mainly focused its extensive international activities to Germany and Baltic region. SEB has a strong position in fund management, life insurance, and mortgage and finance company sectors in Sweden. The bank is also a major player on the stock market, currency trading and international payments.

Financial Groups in Sweden

Other financial groups in Sweden, and in the Nordic region, with a strong position on the market are mainly Länsförsäkringar, Danske Bank and Skandia.

Länsförsäkringar, and Länsförsäkringar Bank, are owned by 23 regional Swedish companies on the insurance market working together.

Danske Bank is, except from Nordea, the largest financial group in the Nordic region and conducts banking in all the Nordic countries.

Skandia and SkandiaBanken are owned by the international insurance company Old Mutual. Skandia is a major player in life insurance and also has good position in mutual fund investments.

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