Our history

The history of Danske Bank dates back to 1871 in Copenhagen. Since its beginnings, the bank has grown and merged with banks across the Nordic region, and today Danske Bank stands as a strong Nordic bank with local roots and bridges to the rest of the world.

Explore our history and gain some insight into the innovative solutions that make us the bank we are today.

 

1871

Den Danske Landmandsbank (Landmandsbanken) is founded. 





 

1873

Handelsbanken is founded and later becomes the neighbour of Landmandsbanken at Kongens Nytorv in Copenhagen. The two banks merge in 1990.



 

1900-1921

Landmandsbanken expands and becomes a major bank in the Nordic region.

The end of World War I is followed by a global depression. The Nordic countries are hit particularly hard because they earned a lot of money from trade with Russia and Germany during the war.

 

1922

Landmandsbanken is on the verge of bankruptcy as a result of financial crises and major losses resulting from lending and speculation. The bank is reconstructed with help from Denmark’s central bank (Nationalbanken) and the Danish state. Some management members are later prosecuted and convicted of fraud.

 

1928

Shipowner A.P. Møller becomes chairman of the board of directors of Landmandsbanken. This establishes the link between the A.P. Møller shipping company and Landmandsbanken that is to develop further over the following years.

 

1940-1945

During World War II, lending declines whereas deposits grow. In 1945, the long period of deflation ends, and the renewed economic growth is mirrored in the development of a nationwide network of branches across Denmark.


 

1968

The Pondus children’s piggy bank is launched and becomes an immediate success.




 

1976

Landmandsbanken changes its name to Den Danske Bank.





 

1990

Den Danske Bank, Handelsbanken and Provinsbanken merge.





 

1997

Expansion in the Nordic region begins with the acquisition of AB Östgöta Enskilda Bank in Sweden.




 

1999

Continued Nordic expansion with the acquisition of Fokus Bank ASA in Norway.




 

2000

New name: Danske Bank





 

2001

Merger with Kapital Holding A/S (BG Bank and Realkredit Danmark).




 

2004-2005

Acquisition of National Irish Bank in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Bank in Northern Ireland.




 

2006

Acquisition in Finland of Sampo Bank and its portfolio of banks in the Baltic countries and Russia.




 

2007

BG Bank and Fokus Bank are incorporated into Danske Bank. The Baltic banks are transformed into branch offices.




 

2008

The international financial crisis spreads throughout the Danish banking sector, leading to an acute shortage of liquidity. Bankpakke I (the first state guarantee package adopted by the Danish parliament) provides a financial safety net for the Danish banking sector.

 

2009

Bankpakke II makes state loans (hybrid capital) available to Danish banks. Danske Bank borrows almost DKK 24 billion. The loan plus interest is repaid in April 2014.



 

2016

Danske Bank sells its building portfolio at Holmens Kanal in Copenhagen. From 2023, the bank will be domiciled in its new headquarters at Postgrunden adjacent to Copenhagen Central Station.


 

2017

The personal customer portfolio in the Republic of Ireland is sold. Danske Bank’s activities in the Republic of Ireland now focus primarily on institutional and large corporate customers.



 

2017

Danske Bank launches an investigation into its Estonian branch on suspicion of systematic money laundering through the branch. The findings are published in the autumn of 2018 and have major ramifications for the bank’s top management.

Read more about the money laundering case

 

2019

Danske Bank essentially exits its banking activities in Estonia following a precept from the Estonian authorities. Danske Bank simultaneously decides to terminate all activities in Latvia, Lithuania and Russia.


1871
1873
1900-1921
1922
1928
1940-1945
1968
1976
1990
1997
1999
2000
2001
2004-2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2016
2017
2017
2019

Chief executives of Danske Bank through time

NameYear
 Isak Glückstadt1871 - 1910
Emil Glückstadt1910 - 1922
Ernst Meyer1922 - 1923
Emil Hertz 1923 - 1928 
Oluf Nielsen 1928 - 1953
Poul Ingholt 1954 - 1964 
Harald Knudtzon 1964 - 1965 
Svend O. Sørensen 1966 - 1980 
Tage Andersen 1980 - 1989 
Knud Sørensen1990 - 1998 
Peter Straarup1998 - 2012
Eivind Kolding2012 - 2013
Thomas F. Borgen2013 - 2018
Jesper Nielsen (interim)2018 - 2019
Chris Vogelzang2019 -

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.

1871
1881
1902
1918
1939
1954
1958
1967
1975
1978 
1982
1987
1997
1998
1998
1999
2010
2011
2013
2016
2016

Mergers & Acquisitions

Get an overview of the Group’s most important mergers, acquisitions and divestments since 1990.
Read more

Acquiring Irish banks

Danke Bank acquires Northern Bank in Northern Ireland and National Irish Bank in the Republic of Ireland in 2004
Read more

Acquisition of Sampo Bank

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