Early in the 19th century the savings banks were started all across Norway, by the communities themselves, to have a savings vehicle and to help grow local economies and infrastructure.
Our history begins exactly 200 years ago, in 1823, when SpareBank 1 SMN opened its doors in Trondhjem.
More than 170 years later, in 1996, The SpareBank 1 Alliance was formed. The goal was to make the banks stronger by working together. Later, several opportunities for offering the public other financial services than lending were integrated. At the same time the SpareBank 1 brand was born. Today it is a household brand name all over Norway.
The Alliance strengthens each of the 13 local bank’s competitiveness and profitability and it ensures each bank’s future independence and regional ties. The shares of SpareBank 1 banks listed on the Oslo stock exchange have provided strong investment returns since the Alliance was formed, through the financial crisis and the corona pandemic, as well as business cycles in between.
A key contributing reason is sound lending. Part of the core strategy for the banks is a regional banking principle, intimate knowledge of the customer base and in the last couple of years a strong focus on sustainability.
SpareBank 1 is Norway’s second largest finance group in terms of assets. It plays a key role in the country's residential mortgage market.
Big or small, two hundred years old or established in the 20th century: All the banks in the SpareBank 1 Alliance have made a difference for Norwegians and their daily lives, businesses and local initiatives all over the country – and they still do. Today the old saving bank of the 19th century is, as a SpareBank 1 Alliance member, a fully fledged universal bank which shares a part of its profits with the society in which it operates.
When the covered bond legislation was enacted in Norway in 2007 (and since updated in 2022), the SpareBank 1 banks’ joint subsidiary SpareBank 1 Boligkreditt stood ready to fund residential mortgages with covered bonds on behalf of the SpareBank 1 banks. The opportunity to issue sought-after and triple-A rated larger series of covered bonds was embraced and SpaBol became an established name on the EUR covered bond market. SpaBol comes regularly to both the EUR and NOK covered bond markets in public benchmark format. Its Norwegian national champion size, as the issuer for almost all SpareBank 1 banks (the exception is SpareBank 1 SR Bank which issues its own covered bonds separately) makes it a consequential covered bond brand name.
Even though a successful alliance allways is dependent on its members, we would like to give one of our banks some extra attention in this report: The bank where it all started. SpareBank 1 SMN – the oldest bank in the alliance, celebrating 200 years in 2023. So even though the next pages mainly contain the story of 2023, we will also salute our oldest alliance member.
Happy anniversary, SpareBank 1 SMN – let’s go for another 200 years!