Improved result compared with last year
SEB continues to strengthen its operations through organic growth and add-on acquisitions. Customer satisfaction and cost efficiency has increased. Our cross-servicing efforts to deliver SEB's full product range to our customers are yielding results. Volumes within key areas such as mortgages, unit-linked, asset management and cards have grown significantly.
These factors have enabled SEB to considerably improve the result compared with 2003, in spite of reduced margins, low equity market activity and flat corporate demand for lending. However, due to low customer activities and low volatility during the summer, income in the third quarter dropped compared with the previous quarters. Corporate & Institutions, like most international wholesale/investment banks have operated in a tough market. At the same time, I am pleased to report that SEB has been able to reduce costs and thereby again deliver a quarterly result exceeding SEK 2bn.
Over the past months, we have strengthened our positions further through strategic acquisitions in our region.
SEB Trygg Liv, which has shown strong growth and improving results, will further increase in importance through its acquisition of Codan Liv & Pension in Denmark.
After the acquisition of Europay in Norway in December 2002, SEB Kort's profit has increased by 30 per cent, to SEK 500m. The entity is now integrating Eurocard in Denmark.
Today, many of our customers increase their business with Eastern Europe, particularly Russia and the Ukraine. Thus, it is natural for us to expand eastwards step by step - an expansion based on the local knowledge of our three Baltic banks in combination with SEB's international experience and broad product range. When we take over Agio Bank in the Ukraine, we will be able to service clients from SEB's home-markets in the fast growing Ukrainian economy.
Today, SEB has a broad platform in terms of products as well as geographically. Our profitable operations in Eastern Europe based upon 2 million customers, 6,000 employees and 300 branch offices provides us with a strong basis for continued profit growth in these fast-growing economies. In addition, we are strengthening our positions within many areas in the Nordic region and Germany, not least in the corporate sector.
The full report including tables can be downloaded from the link below.