From Iceland — Banks Made Over 80 Billion ISK Last Year

Banks Made Over 80 Billion ISK Last Year

Published February 27, 2015

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Iceland’s three banks made a combined total of 81.2 billion ISK last year alone, showing an increase of over 25% from 2013. The revelation drew considerable criticism from members of parliament; in particular, from the party leading the government.

RÚV reports that Arion Banki made 28.7 billion ISK in 2014, after taxes, an increase of 126% over their profits in 2013, when they earned 12.7 billion ISK. At the same time, Íslandsbanki made 22.8 billion ISK after taxes in 2014, which is about 1.3% less than they made in 2013, when they took home 23.1 billion ISK.

Landsbanki came out on top, though, with a post-tax profit of 29.7 billion ISK; a 3.1% increase from 2013. Landsbanki director Steinþór Pálsson told reporters that the bank has performed well in the past year, with a stable financial position that has attracted investment.

All told, the three banks brought in 81.2 billion ISK after taxes, showing a profit increase of 25.7% since 2013.

The news was met with considerable criticism in parliament, as members of the Progressive Party, which leads the government, expressed their dismay that these profits have not translated into better arrangements for bank customers.

“The decision of the banks to offer poorer credit terms to households and individuals is unacceptable, especially when we see that, given their profit reports, they have room to do better,” Progressive MP Elsa Lára Arnardóttir said in parliament yesterday, adding that as representatives of Iceland’s households, members of parliament should “be stricter with financial institutions.”

Not everyone was impressed with the rhetoric, though. Social Democrat MP Helgi Hjörvar responded in parliament by saying, “It’s becoming really tiresome to listen to one Progressive after another come up to the podium and complain about the banks. It should be pointed out that the Progressives are not in the opposition. They are in the ruling coaltion, and have had two years to put constraints on the banks regarding service fees, interest rates and profits.”

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