Danske Bank met with Occupy Copenhagen this week. The purpose was to explain our campaign and at the same time listen to their criticism.
“We had invited Occupy Copenhagen to an informal discussion about our business and the campaign – and to hear their views. Of course, this is a group that we do not normally have much dialogue with, but they are nevertheless one of the many stakeholders that are relevant to talk to,” explains head of Group press relations Kenni Leth.
Four Occupy members took part in the meeting together with Danske Bank’s Eivind Kolding, head of communication Eva Hald, head of corporate affairs Anne Søgaard Melchiorsen and head of Group press relations Kenni Leth.
Should there be money in a society?
“The meeting went well and we had an interesting and constructive discussion where both parties listened to each other. We got to explain our new campaign and the reason behind using the Occupy name. We also had a very interesting talk about a bank’s role in society and a theoretical discussion about whether it was good or bad to have money in a society. Naturally there were points were we will never agree, but there was a respect for each others’ opinions,” says Kenni Leth.
After the meeting, Occupy Copenhagen presented Danske Bank with an economics theory book that supports some of their views.
Several journalists had gathered in front of Holmens Kanal, keen to interview Occupy Copenhagen when the meeting finished. And here began the warm up to what quickly proved to be a minor political happening. Occupy Copenhagen explained rather mysteriously to the journalists that they were very surprised about what they had heard at Danske Bank and needed a little time to digest everything. One hour later they sent out a press release where they claimed that Eiving Kolding had promised that:
- We will contact the finance minister with the purpose of investigating our options for compensating the government, e.g. with a shareholding equivalent to the capital injection the previous government gave via Bank Package 2
- Danske Bank would introduce an interest rate and debt ceiling, so that the debt burden would not constantly rise for the weakest customer groups.
- Danske Invest would investigate the possibility of doing away with all derivatives that speculate in food prices and which create unstable food prices. Likewise, Danske Bank would urge its subsidiaries to do the same.
“Naturally, this was plucked out of thin air and is Occupy Copenhagen’s attempt at creating a political happening out of the meeting. We were prepared for Occupy Copenhagen trying to use the meeting in one way or another to gain more air time in the media. Most journalists have, however, not taken Occupy Copenhagen’s press release seriously, and Occupy Copenhagen later admitted that this was purely wishful thinking on their part,” notes Kenni Leth.
Published December 21 2012