NBI hf
Former type Private (2003-present)
Government-owned corporation (prior to 2003)
Industry Banking
Founded Reykjavík, Iceland, 1885 (commenced operations on 1 July 1886)
Defunct Entered into receivership 7 October 2008, awaiting dissolution remaining assets
Headquarters Reykjavík, Iceland
Key people Björgólfur Guðmundsson (Chairman of the board), Halldór J. Kristjánsson (co-CEO), Sigurjón Þ. Arnason (co-CEO)
Profit increase ISK 39,949 million (2007)[1]
Total assets ISK 3,058 billion (2007)[1]
Employees 2,770 (2007)[1]

Landsbanki, also commonly known as Landsbankinn (literally "the national bank") in Iceland, is a private Icelandic bank with international operations. On October 7, 2008, the Icelandic Financial Supervisory Authority took control of Landsbanki.[2]

Their total assets were of ISK 3,058 billion (33.4 bn) at 31 December 2007 and a market capitalisation of ISK 383 billion (€4.4 bn) at 3 May 2007. Landsbanki is rated by Moody's (Caa1/E/NP/Developing) and Fitch (D/D/F/Evolving).

Since its establishment in 1885 (commenced operations in 1886) Landsbanki has been instrumental in the economic development of business and industry in Iceland. Landsbanki served as the central bank of Iceland from 1927 until 1961. At the time, this interest was primarily directed towards note issuance rather than monetary policy. It was later replaced in this capacity by the Central Bank of Iceland at the behest of the Althing. While still publicly owned it went through a state-directed merger with Samvinnubanki (Cooperative Bank). Landsbanki Íslands was converted to a public limited company on January 1, 1998. The firm was subsequently privatized in stages between 1998 and 2003.

Samson Holdings became the main shareholder. Samson Holdings was owned by Bjorgolfur Thor Bjorgolfsson and his father.[3]

Landsbanki has positioned itself as Iceland's primary provider of general and specialised financial services to individuals, corporate entities and institutions. The bank holds a market share of over 30% in all major business segments and has the country's most extensive branch network. At year-end 2006, Landsbanki provided close to 40% of corporate lending in Iceland, and for around 60% of companies listed on the OMX Iceland Stock Exchange, Landsbanki was their principal bank or one of two banks with whom they did business. The leading provider of M&A, derivatives, equity and fixed income services, Landsbanki also has a more than 40% market share in FX. In addition, Landsbanki provides a full range of asset management services, with a 34% market share in domestic funds.

Building on its strong foundation in Iceland, Landsbanki has extended its financial operations into new markets, focusing on serving mid-cap corporates in Europe in a transactional setting. The bank's product line includes access to both debt and equity markets; its research department includes some 90 analysts covering more than 800 European stocks locally.

Landsbanki currently has 40 branches and sub-branches throughout Iceland, plus a wide-ranging network of international correspondent banks. Landsbanki and its subsidiaries have offices operating in 15 different countries, including the major financial centres of Europe, and North American representation in New York, Winnipeg and Halifax.



In establishing Landsbanki, the Icelandic parliament hoped to boost monetary transactions and encourage the country’s nascent industries. Following its opening on 1 July 1886, the bank's first decades of operation were restricted by its limited financial capacity; it was little more than a savings and loan society. Following the turn of the 20th century, however, Icelandic society progressed and prospered as industrialisation finally made inroads, and the bank grew and developed in parallel to the nation. In the 1920s Landsbanki became Iceland's largest bank, and was made responsible for issuing its bank notes. After the issuing of bank notes was transferred to the newly established Central Bank of Iceland in 1961, Landsbanki continued to develop as a commercial bank, expanding its branch network in the ensuing decades.

Liberalisation of financial services, beginning in 1986, opened up new opportunities, which the bank managed to take advantage of despite some economic adversity. In 1997, Landsbanki was incorporated as a limited-liability company, and the ensuing privatisation finally concluded in 2003. Landsbanki then operated as a privately owned bank, competing in a free market, with substantial international activities added to its traditional Icelandic operations.[citation needed]

2008 financial crisis

On October 7, 2008 the Icelandic Financial Supervisory Authority took control of Landsbanki. A press release by the IFSA states that all of Landsbanki's domestic branches, call centres, ATMs and internet operations will be open for business as usual, and that all domestic deposits are fully guaranteed.[2] The Guardian reported that the Government had moved quickly to use the sweeping powers granted by the Reykjavik parliament, the night before.[4] The country’s financial regulator said on Tuesday that Landsbanki’s branches would open as usual and that all “domestic deposits” were fully guaranteed. The next day the United Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling announced that his government would foot the entire bill for British Icesave savers, estimated at £4 billion,[5][6] and that he was taking steps to freeze the assets of Landsbanki using the financial freezing-orders provisions of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.[7]

Under the Landsbanki Freezing Order 2008, passed on 8 October 2008, Her Majesty's Treasury froze the assets of Landsbanki in the UK, and assets belonging to the Central Bank of Iceland, and the Government of Iceland relating to Landsbanki.[8]

On 9 October 2008 the domestic, Icelandic branch was split off into the "Nýi (= new) Landsbanki"[9] and on 27 October 2008 the inability to render payment of deposits was declared for the remaining parts of Landsbanki.[10]

2007 operations and profit

  • Profit in 2007 amounted to ISK 39.9 billion (bn) (€456m) The bank's pre-tax profit was ISK 45.6 bn (€520m). After-tax ROE was 27%.
  • The group's core income (net interest income plus fees and commissions) amounted to ISK 93.4 bn (€1.1bn) in 2007, an increase of 34% over the previous year.
  • Core earnings generation is steadily becoming more diversified; the share of core earnings originating abroad in 2007 was 52%, compared with 49% in 2006.
  • Fees and commissions amounted to ISK 39.4bn (€449m) compared with ISK 28.4bn in 2006.
  • Trading and investment income amounted to ISK 16.6bn (€189m) compared with ISK 19.6bn in 2006.
  • The bank's liquidity position is very strong, with liquid assets of close to €9bn at year-end 2007. Foreign debt maturing in 2008, however, amounts to only €0.8bn.
  • The bank's total assets amounted to ISK 3,058bn (€33.4bn) at year-end 2007 compared with ISK 2,173bn at the beginning of the year.
  • Loans to customers at year-end 2007 totalled ISK 2,023bn (€22.1bn). Customer deposits, on the other hand, amounted to ISK 1,421bn (€15.5bn) or close to ¾ of total lending. Customer deposits have increased by 108% during the year.
  • Landsbanki has no direct or indirect exposure to structured credit obligations (such as CDOs, SIVs and CLOs) in its loan portfolio.
  • The bank's capital ratio (CAD rules) was 11.7% at year-end 2007. Tier 1 capital was 10.1%

2006 operations and profit

  • The bank’s after-tax profit in Q1 2007 was ISK 13.8bn (€154m), as compared with ISK 14.3bn in Q1 2006. Profit in Q4 2006 was ISK 14.1 billion (bn).
  • After-tax return on equity (ROE) in Q1 was 45.2% as compared with an ROE of 36.3% for 2006 as a whole.
  • The group’s core income (interest margin plus commission income) was ISK 20.6bn (€230m), a YoY quarterly increase of ISK 4.8bn (€54m) or 31%, and an increase of ISK 3.1bn (€35m) or 17% from Q4 2006.
  • Revenue from operations abroad was ISK 12.3bn (€137m), or 42% of total operating revenue.
  • Core income from operations abroad was ISK 10.7bn (€119m) or 52% of the Group’s core income in Q1 2007.
  • The cost-income ratio for the period was 42.2%.
  • Trading gains and investment income amounted to ISK 8.8bn (€98m), as compared with ISK 11.2bn in Q1 2006.
  • Landsbanki’s total assets amounted to ISK 2,317bn as of the end of March 2007. Converted to euros, the bank’s total assets amounted to €26.4bn at the end of March, up from €23.2bn at the beginning of the year.
  • Customer deposits grew by 34% in Q1 2007 to total ISK 913bn (€10.4bn) at the end of March. They represent 62% of total customer lending as compared to 48% at the beginning of this year.
  • The bank's capital adequacy ratio (CAD) was 13.4% at the end of March. Tier 1 capital was 11.7%.

2005 operations and profit

The Bank’s after-tax profit in 2005 was ISK 25 billion. This is an increase of 97% over 2004, when its net profit was ISK 12.7 billion.

After tax return on equity (ROE) was 45.8%. The Bank’s equity rose from ISK 38 billion at the beginning of the year to ISK 110 billion at year-end. Total assets at year-end amounted to ISK 1,405 billion.

According to a survey by IMG Gallup in December 2005, Landsbanki has a leading share of the domestic individual market, as 30% of individuals surveyed bank with Landsbanki.

At the end of 2005, Landsbanki provided close to 40% of corporate lending in Iceland and for around 60% of companies listed on the Iceland Stock Exchange, Landsbanki was the principal bank or one of two banks with whom they did business. Landsbanki’s share of equity brokerage in 2005 was 32% and for bonds 24%.[11]

International operations

The relatively limited size of the Icelandic market prompted Landsbanki, first among Icelandic commercial banks, to expand and diversify outside of Iceland when it acquired the London-based Heritable Bank in 2000. In 2005, Landsbanki acquired three European securities houses: Teather & Greenwood, located in London and Edinburgh; Kepler Equities, headquartered in Paris; and Merrion Capital Group in Dublin. These subsidiaries dealt in securities and prepared equity research in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Zurich, Geneva, Milan, Madrid and Amsterdam. Landsbanki's own branches in London and Amsterdam specialised in structured finance and commercial finance (asset-based lending), while Landsbanki Luxembourg handled private banking and wealth management, as well as corporate services.

On 9 August 2007 Landsbanki completed its acquisition of UK investment bank Bridgwell plc. The operations of Teather & Greenwood were combined with those of Bridgewell under the brand name Landsbanki Securities (UK). The acquisition of Bridgewell made Landsbanki the second largest broker to listed companies on the London Stock Exchange measured by number of clients.

The bank’s major subsidiaries were:

  • Heritable Bank [2] (London) - Residential Development Finance, Mortgages, Specialty Finance
  • Landsbanki Securities (UK) [3] (London) - Corporate and Institutional Broking, Corporate Finance, Equity Research
  • Landsbanki Kepler [4] (Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Milan, Zürich, Geneva and Madrid) - Institutional Broking, Asset Management, Corporate Finance, Research
  • Landsbanki Luxembourg[5] (Luxembourg) – Private Banking, Asset Management
  • Merrion Landsbanki [6] (Dublin) – Corporate and Institutional Broking, Corporate Finance, Research

Landsbanki operated branches in London, Amsterdam, Oslo and Helsinki and representative offices in Halifax and Winnipeg, Canada; and Tórshavn, Faroe Islands. Since 2006, it offered online savings to United Kingdom customers, trading as Icesave [7]. In 2008, it expanded this service to the Netherlands, also under the Icesave name.[12]


A deposit programme for the UK market, Icesave, was launched in October 2006. An easy-access, on-line savings account, Icesave became an instant success, transforming Landsbanki’s balance sheet and funding profile. Since launched, Icesave grew rapidly and at 31 March 2007 Icesave deposits totalled £2.8 bn with over 80,000 accounts opened.

A key factor in Icesave’s appeal to savers was its interest rate guarantee: The gross Annual Equivalent Rate of Interest (AER) paid on balances over £250 was guaranteed to exceed the Bank of England Base Rate by at least 0.25% until 1 October 2009 and thereafter not to be lower than the Bank of England Base Rate until 1 October 2011. As a result, Icesave quickly became the market leader in internet deposit savings accounts in UK in terms of interest rates.

Icesave operated in the Netherlands from May 2008 until October 2008.

On 7 October 2008 the Icesave UK website announced: "We are not currently processing any deposits or any withdrawal requests through our Icesave internet accounts. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause our customers. We hope to provide you with more information shortly."[13]

Icesave was declared in default on 8 October 2008, taking Landsbanki with it in its fall.

Sponsorship of sports: Landsbankadeildin

Landsbanki’s support for Icelandic football is an important aspect of the Bank’s marketing and image policy. In September 2005, an agreement was concluded with the Football Association of Iceland, under which the Icelandic premier league for both men and women will be called the Landsbanki Premier League (Landsbankadeildin) for the next four seasons. The financial backing for football is, however, primarily directed towards supporting sports for children and youth divisions.

See also


External links

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