Danske Bank

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Danske Bank A/S
Publicly traded Aktieselskab (OMXDANSKE)
Industry Financial services
Founded 1871
Headquarters Copenhagen, Denmark
Key people
Ole Andersen (Chairman), Thomas F. Borgen (CEO)
Products Banking, insurance, investment management
Revenue DKK 43.866 billion (2014)[1]
Profit DKK 3.846 billion (2014)[1]
Total assets DKK 3453.0 billion (end 2014)[1]
Total equity DKK 147.4 billion (end 2014)[1]
Number of employees
18,478 (FTE, end 2014)[1]
Website www.danskebank.com

Danske Bank is a Danish bank. The name literally means "Danish Bank". It was founded 5 October 1871 as Den Danske Landmandsbank, Hypothek- og Vexelbank i Kjøbenhavn (The Danish Farmers' Bank, Mortgage and Exchange Bank of Copenhagen). Headquartered in Copenhagen, it is the largest bank in Denmark and a major retail bank in the northern European region with over 5 million retail customers.[2] Danske Bank was number 454 on the Fortune Global 500 list for 2011.[3]

Organisational Structure[edit]

Danske Bank's headquarters in Kongens Nytorv in Copenhagen.

The Danske Bank group operates a number of local banks around the Nordic Region as well as across Ireland.[4]

Danske Bank (Latvia)[edit]

The Danske Bank branch in Latvia was opened in 2008 and in the short time has gained quite a lot of popularity.[5]

A Sampo bank in Tapiola in Finland

Danske Bank (Finland)[edit]

Danske Bank, formerly Sampo Bank, is Danske Bank's Finnish operations. Sampo Bank was acquired by the Danske Bank|Danske Bank Group in 2007. Sampo Bank traces its origins back to 1887, Originally the Finnish state-owned Post and Savings Bank, which accepted deposits from the public at its post offices. In 1999, the state-owned bank was merged with Sampo PLC's insurance business to form the Sampo Group. The banking unit was later acquired by Danske Bank in 2007, while the Sampo Group retained the insurance business. [1]

Danske Bank (Northern Ireland)[edit]

Danske Bank of Ireland (formerly Northern Bank) is a commercial bank in Northern Ireland. Northern Bank was one of the oldest banks in Ireland having been formed in 1809, and formed part of one of the Big Four banks in Ireland.[6] Northern Bank took on the name of its parent company Danske Bank as its trading name in November 2012.[7] The bank is considered one of the leading retail banks in Northern Ireland with 82 branches and four finance centres.[8] Danske Bank is one of the four commercial banks in Northern Ireland which are permitted to issue their own banknotes.[citation needed]


Northern Bank was founded in Belfast in 1809 as the Northern Banking Partnership. The bank expanded across Ireland, opening its first branch in the south in 1840.[9]

In 1970, the Northern Banking Company Limited amalgamated with the Belfast Banking Company Limited to form Northern Bank Limited.

Until 1988, the bank was a subsidiary of the Midland Bank, sharing Midland's branding and the Griffin logo. In 1986, the bank's operations were re-organised when its operations in the Republic of Ireland were separated from its Northern Ireland business into a subsidiary company called Northern Bank (Ireland) Limited.

Organisational structure & Leadership[edit]

Gerry Mallon has been the CEO of Danske Bank since 2008. Under his leadership Danske bank posted its first pre tax profit in over 6 years for 2013. Kevin Kingston is Deputy CEO and also fulfills the role of managing director Business and Corporate banking. Other senior executives include Shaun McAnee, Tony Wilcox, Ivan Mcminn, Robert Garrett and Brian Telford.

Acquisition by National Australia Bank[edit]

In 1988, both Northern Bank Limited and Northern Bank (Ireland) Limited were acquired by National Australia Bank, after which the operations in Northern Bank (Ireland) Limited were renamed National Irish Bank. The Northern Bank brand name continued in Northern Ireland, but a new logo was introduced, a stylised "N" in a hexagon shape. In 2002, the bank's logotype (the word "Northern") was changed to match that of the National Australia Bank.

Acquisition by Danske Bank[edit]

In December 2004, the Denmark-based Danske Bank Group agreed to acquire Northern Bank and National Irish Bank for £967m. The sale of the two banks marked National Australia Bank's exit from the Irish banking markets.[10] Don Price remained as CEO, but was later replaced by Gerry Mallon in June 2008. The acquisition was completed in 2005 and Danske Bank invested approximately £100m in Northern Bank.[11] As part of this process, National Irish Bank was separated from the Northern Bank and given its own dedicated management team. Both Northern & National Irish Bank also migrated over to Danske Bank's technology platform with a centralised contact centre set up to deal with all incoming calls to the branches of both banks. From April 2006 the two banks also adopted new corporate identities which were based on a variation of the Danske Bank logo.

On 1 June 2012, brand separation between Northern Bank and National Irish Bank was also reversed, with the two banks merged under the Northern Bank management team.[12] On 19 November 2012 the bank formally dropped its Northern Bank name and began trading as Danske Bank. The first Danish branding was unveiled with new signage at the company's head office in Donegall Square.[7] Since the rebrand, cheques issued by the bank bear the legend "Danske Bank is a trading name of Northern Bank Limited". Danske Bank continues to issue pound sterling banknotes in Northern Ireland, and notes issued since 2013 now bear the Danske Bank brand name.[13]

In 2008, Northern Bank embarked on a £3m investment programme to upgrade facilities at three of its Northern Ireland branches.[14]


A£10 note bearing the Danske Bank branding issued in 2013
A 2005 reissue £20 note, bearing the former Northern Bank brand name

In common with the other Big Four retail banks of Northern Ireland, Danske Bank retains the right to issue its own banknotes, a practice which was abolished in England and Wales in the early Twentieth Century. Danske Bank notes are pound sterling notes and equal in value to Bank of England notes and should not be confused with banknotes of the former Irish pound, a separate currency which was replaced by the Euro in the Republic of Ireland in 2002; nor should Danske Bank notes be confused with banknotes of the Danish Krone issued by the Danish National Bank, in spite of the Danish name of the issuing bank.

Following the acquisition of Northern Bank by Danske Bank, banknotes issued since June 2013 now bear Danske Bank branding in place of the Northern Bank name; otherwise the designs remain identical to the previous issue. Older banknotes bearing the Northern Bank name are still in circulation and continue to be acceptable for payments as they are gradually withdrawn. Danske Bank has also ceased issue of £50 and £100 notes and will in future only print £10 and £20 notes.[15][16]

Danske Bank does not issue £5 notes, but a special commemorative £5 note was issued by the Northern Bank to mark the Year 2000. Uniquely among sterling notes, this was a polymer banknote, printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company (CBN) on Australia synthetic polymer substrate instead of paper, making Northern Ireland the only part of the UK to have issued a plastic banknote. It is the only one of the bank's pre-2004 notes still in circulation; all others were recalled following the 2004 robbery.

As promissory notes, the current issue of the banknotes bear the inscription below the Danske Bank logo, "a trading name of Northern Bank Limited which promises to pay the bearer on demand", followed by the monetary value of the note.[16] Most Northern Bank banknotes feature an illustration on the reverse side of the portico of Belfast City Hall, sculpted by F. W. Pomeroy. The front of most notes depict a range of notable people associated with industry in Northern Ireland. The designs currently in circulation are:

Denomination Obverse illustration Significance Notes
£5 US Space Shuttle Northern Bank polymer note, to be withdrawn
£10 J. B. Dunlop Inventor of the first pneumatic tyre in Belfast, 1887 Reissued as Danske Bank note
£20 Harry Ferguson Inventor of the Ferguson P99 Formula One racing car, the Ferguson Tractor and the first Irish aviator Reissued as Danske Bank note
£50 Sir Samuel Cleland Davidson Founder of the Belfast Sirocco Works and pioneer of air conditioning Northern Bank note, to be withdrawn
£100 Sir James Martin Inventor of the aircraft ejector seat,[17] Northern Bank note, to be withdrawn

2005 reissue[edit]

An old design £20 Northern Bank note withdrawn in 2005

Following the £26.5 million robbery in 2004 (see below), Northern Bank announced on 7 January 2005 that all its notes were to be recalled and reissued in revised designs and using an updated Northern Bank logo. The reissue began on 14 March 2005 and was scheduled to take one month; old notes remain exchangeable at branches of Northern Bank.[18] The principal colours of Northern Bank notes of greater than £5 face value were changed with the 2005 reissue, and are now as follows (former colour in brackets):

Denomination Pre-2005 Post-2005
£5 green unchanged
£10 brown green
£20 purple blue
£50 green purple
£100 black red

On the older notes, the bank's N’ symbol was enclosed in a vertical rectangular bar above the 'Northern' logo; after reissue, the N’ monogram was presented as a free-standing hexagonal graphic above the new italic Northern' logo. After the Danske rebrand, Northern branding has been replaced with the Danske Bank logo on notes issued after 2013.


On 20 December 2004 the cash centre at the bank's headquarters in Belfast was raided, and £26.5 million stolen. Most of this consisted of uncirculated Northern Bank notes, as well as millions in used notes. There was also over a million pounds in other currencies. The police and government as well as other major political figures in both Ireland and the United Kingdom accused the Provisional Irish Republican Army of being responsible.

On 9 October 2008 the trial of the only man to be charged with the robbery collapsed when Chris Ward, 26, was found not guilty.[19]


Danske Bank issues its own banknotes through its Northern Ireland subsidiary; as certain retail banks in Northern Ireland and Scotland are licensed to issue their own pound sterling banknotes. Danske Bank acquired one such bank in 2005, the Belfast-based Northern Bank, and since 2013 has produced banknotes under the Danske Bank brand name. These Danske Bank notes are denominated in pounds sterling and should not be confused with banknotes of the Danish Krone, an entirely separate currency, which are issued in Denmark by the Danish National Bank.[15][16]

Danske Bank (Ireland)[edit]

"National Irish Bank" redirects here. It is not to be confused with National Bank of Ireland. For the Northern Irish bank, see Danske Bank (Northern Ireland).

Danske Bank, formerly known as the National Irish Bank, is a bank operating in the Republic of Ireland. The bank is a subsidiary of the Danske Bank Group which is headquartered in Copenhagen.

Danske Bank is organised in three business units – Personal Banking, Business Banking and Corporates & Institutions – that span all of the Group's geographical markets. Since November 2012, all of the Group's banking activities have been gathered under the Danske Bank brand name. The group's websites were brought fully into alignment with the new organisation at the same time.


Former National Irish Bank branch on O'Connell Street in Dublin. The pediment, by John Steell, depicts the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins.[20]

National Irish Bank was originally the Republic of Ireland branch network of Northern Bank, one of the oldest banks in Ireland (dating back to 1824). National Irish Bank was created as a separate entity in 1986, at first under the name Northern Bank (Ireland) Limited, when its owners, UK-based Midland Bank, separated Northern Bank's operations in the Republic of Ireland from its Northern Ireland business.

In 1987, both banks were acquired by National Australia Bank (along with Midland Bank's Scottish subsidiary, Clydesdale Bank). In 1988 the Republic of Ireland operation was renamed National Irish Bank Limited whilst Northern Bank Limited remained the name of the Northern Ireland operation. Nonetheless, a single management team continued to run both banks, which shared many services and back office functions. During this era, the logo of the National Irish Bank was that of the National Australia Bank (at the time), except that the red star had been recoloured green, and "Irish Bank" was added alongside the word "National". The original Northern Bank (Ireland) logo had been the Midland Bank griffin.

Lacey era: 1988–1994[edit]

In 1988, Jim Lacey had been appointed CEO of NIB. He was briefed to spearhead a campaign to raise the bank’s profile, which included innovations such as lower interest rates. Lacey commissioned a high-profile advertising campaign, featuring fictitious NIB manager Martin, who would repeatedly call his cousin Niall about the great deals the bank was offering.[21]

In 1993, Irish crime lord Martin Cahill planned a raid on NIB, using then CEO Jim Lacey and his family as hostages to extract up to €10 million in cash. In early 1993 John "The Coach" Traynor met with his boss Cahill to provide him with inside information about the inner-workings of NIB at College Green, Dublin. Traynor told Cahill that the bank regularly held more than €10 million in cash in the building. The plan was to abduct Lacey, his wife and four children and take them to an isolated hiding place. There they would be held with fellow gang member, but acting as a "hostage" Jo Jo Kavanagh, who would frighten Lacey into handing over every penny stored in the bank's vaults.[22]

On 1 November 1993, Cahill's gang that included Brian Meehan seized Lacey and his wife outside his home in Blackrock.[21] Holding them at Lacey's home, Kavanagh was brought in and tied up, telling the family that he had been abducted two weeks before. On 2 November, Kavanagh drove Lacey to College Green to collect the ransom money, with Lacey eventually withdrawing IR£300,000 from an accessible cash machine.[21] Kavanagh then drove the pair and the money to the local Garda station, where he told them the pair had been kidnapped and forced to take part in a robbery.[22]

With a ransom note requesting payment of €10 million in cash, the Gardaí began investigating. They quickly found that Kavanagh had claimed child allowance during his two-week "capture," and so arrested him. Cahill then planned with Kavanagh to "raid" Kavanagh's home, and show intent to kill the Lacey family by shooting Kavanagh in the leg. Kavanagh was then to call the Irish newspapers from his hospital bed, and claim he was a victim of the Lacey kidnapping gang.[22]

However, the plan failed, and the gang were arrested. Released on bail, in 1994, Cahill was murdered by a claimed Irish Republican Army hitman close to his home in Rathmines, who had been paid for by rival drug gang crime lord and former Cahill gang member John Gilligan. In 1997, Kavanagh was jailed for 12 years for offences connected with the Lacey kidnapping.[22]

1998 Inspection[edit]

Dismissed by National Australia Bank in 1994, Lacey was subsequently appointed CEO of publishers Lafferty, and also appointed chairman of the Irish Aviation Authority and the Dublin Docklands Development Authority.[21] However, he resigned these positions in 1998 after a report on RTÉ was further investigated by High Court of the Republic of Ireland. After subsequently appointing inspectors in Dublin,[23] Their report conclusions were:

  • Bogus non-resident accounts in some branches enabled customers to evade tax
  • Investment policies were promoted for funds undisclosed to the Revenue Commissioners
  • Special Savings Accounts had Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) deducted at a reduced rate. Note: this point may be incorrect as the legal SSA product was designed to have DIRT deducted at a lower rate. Budget legislation over the past number of years has brought the reduced DIRT rate up and the standard DIRT down to a point where they both currently meet i.e.: 20%.
  • There was improper charging of interest or fees to some customers. (The bank has refunded all customers who the Inspectors alleged had been mischarged.)

Following the Inspectors' report, the Director of Corporate Enforcement took disqualification proceedings against nine former NIB personnel, none of whom has been employed by NIB since the 1990s.[24]

Changes under Danske[edit]

On 1 March 2005, Danske formally took control of National Irish Bank. It announced as its first act that the Northern Bank and National Irish Bank would be fully separated from each other, with a new management team appointed to National Irish Bank. Some shared back office services will remain. The bank changed over to the Danske Bank technology platform.

The bank adopted the logo of Danske Bank, albeit with the word "Danske" replaced by "National Irish". The bank was formally relaunched on 18 April, with a new product offering, and a revamped internet banking system. Among the innovations is the use of text messages to communicate with customers.

In June 2005 Andrew Healy was appointed chief executive officer of National Irish Bank.

In January 2007 Danske Bank announced that the banking business of National Irish Bank Limited would be transferred to Danske Bank A/S, Irish Branch. The practical effect of this was that from 1 April 2007 National Irish Bank was no longer regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland but by the Danish Financial Services Authority, as NIB was now to be a division of Danske Bank rather than a separate subsidiary.

In December 2009, National Irish Bank announced that it was launching a restructuring programme, this would involve closing 25 of its branches and also changing is banking model.

Beginning in early 2010 National Irish Bank began moving away from a 'Cash Bank' to 'Cashless'. The first of these branches to go cashless were Malahide and Dun Laoghaire branches. By the middle of 2011 National Irish Bank became a completely cashless bank and no longer accepts cash for lodgments. The bank announced that they would be looking at possible third parties to accept cash lodgments.

Further on from the announcement that National Irish Bank would be moving towards a cash-free operation, An Post was announced as the third party who will accept lodgments on behalf of NIB. This came into effect from 1 November. It meant that all National Irish Bank customers will be able to lodge cash they may have in any An Post office around the country, currently there are over 1,200 An Post branches in ROI.

Reintegration with Northern Bank[edit]

On 10 May 2012, Danske Bank announced that Northern Bank and National Irish Bank would be merged on 1 June 2012, under the Northern Bank management team and the Danske Bank name, effectively reversing the separation between the two. The rebrand was completed on 18 November 2012.[25] At the time the bank closed its 27 branches to focus on corporate and private clients.

Tiger robbery, August 2006[edit]

The Killester, Dublin branch (known as Howth Road branch) of National Irish Bank was the scene of a 'tiger robbery' on 29 August 2006 when a 23-year-old employee was kidnapped by an armed gang. The bank handed over a ransom of €270,000 without informing or involving the Garda Síochána. The Garda Siochana heavily criticised this action, stating that it leaves the bank exposed in the future to replica attacks.[26] However, the Howth Road branch has since become a cashless branch.

Closure of personal banking[edit]

On 31 October 2013 Danske Bank announced it would be withdrawing all personal banking services in the Irish Republic on a phased basis in the first half of 2014.[27]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Annual Results 2014". Danske Bank. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Facts and figures". Danske Bank. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "Fortune Global 500 (Denmark)". Fortune. 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Danske Bank presentation of Sampo acquisition
  5. ^ http://www.baltic-legal.com/banking-in-latvia-list-of-banks-danske-bank-eng.htm Danske bank in Latvia - Baltic Legal
  6. ^ "Banks in United Kingdom (UK or Britain)". ecbs.org. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  7. ^ a b "Hello Danske as a new era begins for Northern Bank" (Press release). Belfast: Danske Bank. 19 November 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Patronage – Danske Bank". Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  9. ^ "History". Danske Bank. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  10. ^ "Green light for NAB options desk". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 28 November 2013. 
  11. ^ O'Reilly, Gemma (10 December 2008). "Belfast paper leaves the Troubles behind". Brand Republic. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  12. ^ "Danske Bank strengthens commitment to Northern Ireland". Danske Bank. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  13. ^ "Rebrand". Danske Bank. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  14. ^ "Northern Bank invests Pounds 3m to upgrade facilities". HighBeam Research. 24 November 2008. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  15. ^ a b "Danske Bank puts new bank-notes into circulation". BBC News. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  16. ^ a b c "Danske Bank Launch New Bank Notes". Belfast City Centre Management. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "Irish Scientists and Inventors". Irish Patents Office. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  18. ^ "New Northern Bank notes unveiled". BBC News. 9 March 2005. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  19. ^ "£26m bank robbery trial collapses". BBC News. 9 October 2008. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  20. ^ Casey, Christine (2005). Dublin: the city within the Grand and Royal Canals and the Circular Road with the Phoenix Park. Yale University Press. p. 217. ISBN 978-0-300-10923-8. 
  21. ^ a b c d Una McCaffrey (9 April 2011). "Ex-chief executive's past eventually catches up with him". The Irish Times. Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  22. ^ a b c d "JO JO FALLS ON WOOF TIMES". Sunday World. Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  23. ^ Mr Justice John Blayney and Mr Tom Grace FCA (30 July 2004). "Summary of Report of the Investigation into the affairs of National Irish Bank Ltd and National Irish Financial Services Limited" (PDF). The High Court. 
  24. ^ "ODCE Seeks Nine Disqualifications arising from the NIB/NIBFS Report" (Press release). Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement. 28 July 2005. 
  25. ^ "Switch from National Irish Bank to Danske is completed". The Irish Times. 19 November 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  26. ^ "Garda anger at bank's ransom payment". The Irish Times. 31 August 2006. 
  27. ^ http://www.rte.ie/news/2013/1031/483729-danske-bank-to-close-with-loss-of-150-jobs/

External links[edit]