HistoryHistory

Danske Bank in Ireland

The history of Danske in Ireland began in 2005, when Danske Bank, Denmark’s biggest bank, bought National Irish Bank and Northern Bank, but the bank's history goes back further than that...

National Irish Bank

National Irish Bank's roots can be traced back to 1809 with the formation in Belfast of the Northern Banking Partnership – which became the Northern Bank in 1924.  The bank gradually extended its network throughout Ireland.

In 1987, the Northern Bank was bought by National Australia Group, which rebranded its operation in the Republic as National Irish Bank (NIB).  A single management team continued to run both banks and they still shared many services and back office functions.

In March 2005, the Danske Bank Group bought both Northern Bank and NIB.  Following the acquisition, Danske appointed a separate management team to NIB for the first time.

Danske immediately went about transforming the bank.  This involved a €100m investment in new operations and business structures, as well as new products, services and IT.

Following its formal relaunch in April 2006, the bank soon earned a reputation for its introduction of new products and for its innovative technology.  National Irish Bank became a full branch of the Danske Bank Group in April 2007. In November 2012, the bank rebranded all of its business under the Danske Bank brand, becoming Danske Bank.

Danske Bank Group has consistently emphasised its commitment to Ireland and its ambitions for its business in Ireland. 


Histocial surroundings

Danske Bank

Nineteenth century – three large banks
Founded in 1857, Privatbanken was the first large private bank in Denmark. Den Danske Landmandsbank was established on October 5, 1871, by Gottlieb Hartvig Abrahamsson Gedalia. In 1873, Denmark saw the launch of another large bank, Handelsbanken.

While the founders of Privatbanken had their roots in Copenhagen's business establishment, the key figure behind the launch of Den Danske Landmandsbank was originally a saddle-maker who first traded in shares and bonds as a sideline, later becoming a talented broker.

However, it was the Glückstadt family who played a significant role in the development of this large new bank. Isak Glückstadt became its managing director in 1872 and steered the bank for 38 successful years until his son took over in 1910.

1920-1950 – farmers’ bank to Denmark’s bank
In 1910, Den Danske Landmandsbank was the largest bank in Scandinavia. In 1922, however, during the post-war crisis, the bank got into such difficulties that it had to be bailed out by the Danish government. After a re-organisation, the bank quickly regained its former strength.

Den Danske Landmandsbank remained Denmark's largest bank, and between 1920 and 1950, the bank grew and extended its branch network. As a result of this growth and the changing nature of its customer base, the bank altered its name to Den Danske Bank in 1976. In 2000 it was renamed Danske Bank.

1960-1990 – liberalisation and mergers
The period 1960-90 was marked by a rationalisation of the banking sector. The key to Den Danske Bank’s development was also the gradual liberalisation of the banking laws in the run-up to open-market competition.

Liberalisation gave rise to fewer restrictions on marketing, product development and continual technological innovation. However, there was also competition from abroad and banks had to operate on strictly commercial lines. Mergers were in the air.

1990 – merger between the first three large banks
The indirect result of this development was that on April 6, 1990, Den Danske Bank, Handelsbanken and Provinsbanken merged into one bank called Den Danske Bank.

2006 - Acquisition of Sampo Bank
In 2006, Danske Bank Group further expanded through the acquisition of Sampo Bank, the third-largest bank in Finland.  The acquisition also included activities in Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, as well as a branch in Russia.

2007 – assimilation of BG Bank in Danske Bank Denmark
In 2007, BG Bank, which had joined the Danske Bank Group in 2001, amalgamated with Danske Bank to form one bank. The two banks had become increasingly similar since the merger in 2001. The combination of the two brands gave the new Danske Bank a stronger position in the market, with more branches and greater accessibility for customers. 

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Danske Bank is part of the Danske Bank Group.

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