Our history

Danske Bank’s history takes it departure in Copenhagen in 1871. Since then, the bank has merged with banks across the Nordics, and today, we are a strong Nordic bank with local roots and bridges to the rest of the world.

Dive into our history and get a glimpse of the innovative solutions that makes us the bank we are today.

Milestones of our history

Danske Bank’s history goes back to the founding of Den Danske Landmandsbank in 1871. Two years later, Handelsbanken is founded. It remains Danske Bank's neighbour and competitor until the two banks merge in 1990. Find more milestones from our long history in the timeline.

 

1871

The Bank is founded
Den Danske Landmandsbank, Hypothek and Vexelbank i Kjøbenhavn is founded on 5 October.

The Bank's key founder is saddlemaker and broker Gottlieb Hartvig Abrahamsson Gedalia.

 

1873

Handelsbanken is founded
Handelsbanken is founded on 18 April. It remained Danske Bank's neighbour and competitor until the two banks merge in 1990.

 

1910

Largest bank in Scandinavia
Den Danske Landmandsbank becomes the largest bank in Scandinavia

 

 


 

1968

Pondus Club
In January the Bank launches the Pondus savings bank in the form of a penguin. The Bank is the among the first in Denmark to offer savings activities for children.

In two weeks, 50,000 children join the Pondus Club.

 

1976

Den Danske Bank
Den Danske Landmandsbank changes its name to Den Danske Bank.

 

1990

Merger
Den Danske Bank, Handelsbanken and Provinsbanken merge on 6 April.

Poul Svanholm, managing director of Carlsberg Breweries, becomes chairman of the Board of Directors, and Knud Sørensen of Den Danske Bank becomes CEO.

The continuing bank retains Handelsbanken's octagonal logo.

 

1997

Expansion in Scandinavia
The Bank opens branches in Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki and acquires Östgöta Enskilda Bank in Sweden.

 


 

1998

Peter Straarup becomes CEO
CEO Knud Sørensen retires and is succeeded by Peter Straarup, who becomes the eleventh CEO in the Bank's 127-year history.

 

1999

Further international expansion
In 1999, Danske Bank acquires Fokus Bank in Norway and opens a representative office in Warsaw, Poland.

A year later, the bank acquires a controlling interest in St. Stanislaus Polish-Canadian Bank S.A. - later it is renamed Danske Bank Polska S.A.

 

2000

New name and logo
Den Danske Bank shortens its name to Danske Bank and launches a new logo.

 

2001

Merger with RealDanmark
Danske Bank merges with RealDanmark (BG Bank and Realkredit Danmark) on 1 January.

 

2004

Acquiring Irish banks
Danke Bank expands its international operations by acquiring Northern Bank in Northern Ireland and National Irish Bank in the Republic of Ireland.


 

 

2006

Acquisition of Sampo Bank
Danske Bank acquires the Finish Sampo Bank. With the acquisition, the bank gets a significant position in Finland and activities in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia (St. Petersburg).

 

2007

Danske Bank Denmark and BG Bank merge
The combined unit continues under the Danske Bank brand.

 

2013

New chairman of the Executive Board
The Norwegian head of Corporates & Institutions, Thomas F. Borgen, is appointed CEO. He is the thirteenth chief executive in the bank’s 142-year history and the first non-Dane to head the Bank.

Thomas F. Borgen was head of Danske Bank in Norway, Fokus Bank, in 2009, when he joined the Bank’s Executive Board and moved to Denmark.

 

2016

Danske Bank sells head office
Danske Bank sells the head office buildings at Holmens Kanal in the centre of Copenhagen.

In 2023, Danske Bank’s domicile will move from Holmens Kanal to new offices at Postgrunden near Copenhagen central station. As a result, Danske Bank’s corporate functions will be gathered at two addresses in Greater Copenhagen.

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A history of innovation

We have an ambition to make daily banking and important financial decisions easy for our customers. To fulfil this ambition, we aim to offer state-of-the-art innovative solutions. 

But being innovative is not something new. We have been innovative since the very beginning. Click the timeline and discover our many groundbreaking solutions throughout history.
 

1871

For the first time in Denmark, we offer overdraft facilities.

 

1881

First safe deposit boxes in Europe

As the first bank in Europe, we introduce safe deposit boxes at our facilities in Copenhagen, Denmark.

 

1902

Introducing the piggy bank to the Danes
The bank introduces the piggy bank – an entirely new, American concept – in the Danish market. A messenger from the bank comes by the customer’s home once a month to collect the savings.

 

1918

Easy money transporting
As the first Danish bank, we begin to use cars for transporting cash to and from our branches.

 

1939

Modern banking in Finland
The postal giro payment system is introduced. It is the first modern banking system in Finland, and it makes daily banking significantly easier for local businesses.

 

1954

Faster customer service
Customers are served faster and easier with the introduction of a new customer service system at the Danish branches.

 

1958

Banking transactions on computers
As the first company in Finland, the bank starts using one of the earliest IBM computers for its banking transactions.

 

1967

Introducing Pondus piggy banks
The bank is the first to launch a savings account concept for children in Denmark. The penguin Pondus becomes its mascot and our customers’ children can get a Pondus piggy bank for their savings. Within six months, 300,000 children own a Pondus.

 

1975

Introducing ATMs in Finland
In Finland, we introduce banking terminals – ATMs – to help customers make daily banking easy. In 1988, there are 2,600 terminals in place across Finland.

 

1978 

Bank account structure with lasting impact on banking in Norway

We are the first bank in Norway to introduce a completely new bank account system with just three different account types – a more simple and transparent solution than other current offers. Especially the savings account is revolutionary with high interest rates, no notice period and no interest rate reductions on withdrawals. The new structure has a lasting impact on the Norwegian banking system.

 

1982

First payment terminals 

The Bank is the first bank to test payment terminals in Norwegian shops.

 

1987

High-interest checking account with a growing interest rate 

The first high-interest checking account in Finland is introduced. The rate of interest increases with amounts deposited and interest accrues on a daily basis.

 

1997

Introducing eBanking 
We launch the first eBanking solution for personal customers in Norway allowing people to do their banking at home. Three years later, we are also the first to introduce eBanking for businesses in Norway.

 

1998

Online share trading
Danske Bank’s customers are among the first in Denmark to be able to buy and sell securities on the stock exchange through online banking.

 

1998

Innovative online banking
We introduce a new and more secure online banking system in Finland. For the first time, customers can pay their bills entirely online. The following year, customers make more transactions online than at branches.

 

1999

First mobile banking in the world
As the first bank in the world, we make banking services available on mobile phones in Finland. We are tapping into the new WAP technology that can connect to the online banking system.

 

2010

First with mobile banking on smartphones
As the first bank in Denmark and Finland, Danske Bank launches mobile banking apps for iPhone and Android smartphones.

 

2011

Tablet bank for iPad
Tablet banking for iPad is the first of its kind in Denmark. It offers the same user experience as mobile banking, while it is specifically tailored to the device. In 2012, we launch tablet banking in Norway, Sweden and Finland. In Finland, we are also the first bank to offer this solution.

 

2013

Revolutionising mobile payments
Danske Bank launches MobilePay in Denmark and Finland. It is the first app on both markets to offer mobile payments. At first, the app offers payments between individuals, but later the solution opens up for businesses to accept MobilePay as means of payment in web shops, at points of sales and for invoices.

 

2016

Flexible home loans
We introduce a range of unique home loans in Finland designed to suit our customers in various life situations. The new loans offer different levels of financial flexibility and security.

 

2016

Online solution for small businesses
We introduce the online service DynamicPay in the Danish market. The solution is made to help small businesses improve their cash flows and enable them to take in new orders, contributing to growth and job creation in society.

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Mergers & Acquisitions

Get an overview of the Group’s most important mergers, acquisitions and divestments since 1990.
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Acquiring Irish banks

Danke Bank acquires Northern Bank in Northern Ireland and National Irish Bank in the Republic of Ireland in 2004
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Acquisition of Sampo Bank

Danske Bank acquires the Finish Sampo Bank in 2006.
Read more