Report of the Board of Directors

Preliminary annual accounts 2014

Consolidated figures. Figures in parentheses refer to 2013 unless otherwise stated

Profit of NOK 1,782m after tax

  • Profit before tax and assets held for sale: NOK 2,143m (1,758m)
  • Net profit: NOK 1,782m (1,400m)
  • Return on equity: 15.1 per cent (13.3 per cent)
  • CET1 ratio: 11.2 per cent (11.1 per cent)
  • Growth in lending 7.3 per cent (6.8 per cent) and in deposits 10.9 per cent (7.3 per cent)
  • Loan losses: NOK 89m (101m)
  • Earnings per equity certificate (EC): NOK 8.82 (6.92). Book value per EC, incl. recommended dividend for 2014: NOK 62.04 (55.69)
  • Recommended dividend: NOK 2.25 per EC. Allocation to non-profit causes: NOK 160m

Fourth quarter 2014

  • Profit before tax: NOK 434m (476m)
  • Net profit: NOK 375m (361m)
  • Return on equity: 12.1 per cent (13.1 per cent)
  • Loan losses: NOK 34m (32m)
  • Earnings per EC: NOK 1.85 (NOK 1.79)

Excellent performance in 2014


  • Profit improvement of NOK 382m over 2013. Core business strengthened with increased net interest income and limited cost growth
  • Low loan losses and low default rate
  • Good return on financial investments, mainly from gain on sale of the bank’s stake in Nets Holding
  • Excellent profit performance at affiliates, largely due to run-off gains in insurance
  • CET1 ratio: 11.2 per cent
  • Relatively high growth in lending to and deposits by corporates and retail customers alike

In 2014 SpareBank 1 SMN achieved a post-tax profit of NOK 1,782m (1,400m) and a return on equity of 15.1 per cent (13.3 per cent). Profit before tax was NOK 2,143m (1,758m).

In 2014 operating income increased by 12 per cent to reach an overall NOK 4,021m (3,580m). Incomes rose both at the parent bank and the subsidiaries.

Return on financial assets was NOK 720m (502m), of which the profit share on owner interests in associated accounted for NOK 527m (355m) and a gain on the sale of, and dividend on, the bank's stake in Nets Holding accounted for NOK 165m.

Operating expenses came to NOK 1,789m (1,721m) in 2014, i.e. NOK 68m, or 3.9 per cent, higher than in 2013. Costs for 2014 include NOK 30m set aside at the parent bank for a reorganisation scheduled for implementation in 2015 and 2016.

Net losses on loans and guarantees were NOK 89m (101m).

Lending growth was 7.3 per cent (6.8 per cent) and deposit growth was 10.9 per cent (7.3 per cent).

Capital adequacy is calculated according to the new capital requirements directive (CRD IV), described in greater detail in Note 13 – Capital adequacy. CET1 capital adequacy at 31 December 2014 was 11.2 per cent (11.1 per cent).

SpareBank 1 SMN is planning for a CET1 ratio of 13.5 per cent by 30 June 2016. SpareBank 1 SMN’s capital plan is further described in the section on financial strength.

At year-end the bank's EC was priced at NOK 58.50 (55.00). A cash dividend of NOK 1.75 per EC was paid in 2014 for the year 2013.

Earnings per EC were NOK 8.82 (6.92). Book value was NOK 62.04 (55.69) per EC including a recommended dividend of NOK 2.25.

Profit before tax in the fourth quarter in isolation was NOK 434m (476m). The quarter’s figures reflect:

  • Good net interest income
  • Stable commission income
  • Provision for reorganisation
  • Low losses and low rate of defaults
  • Good results at associated

Proposed distribution of profit

Distribution of the profit for the year is done on the basis of the parent bank’s accounts. The parent bank’s profit includes dividends from subsidiaries, affiliates and joint ventures.

Subsidiaries are fully consolidated in the group accounts, whereas profit shares from affiliates and joint ventures are consolidated using the equity method. Dividends are accordingly not included in the group results.

Difference between Group - Parent Bank (NOKm) 2014 2013
Profit for the year, Group 1,782 1,400
Profit, subsidiaries  -92 -112
Dividend, subsidiaries  117 111
Profit, associated companies -527 -355
Dividend, associated companies 182 328
Elimination subsidiaries and associated companies -15 -24
Profit for the year, Parent bank 1,447 1,348

The annual profit for distribution reflects changes of plus NOK 57m in the revaluation reserve, leaving the total amount for distribution at NOK 1,503m.

The profit is distributed between the ownerless capital and the equity certificate capital in proportion to their relative shares of the bank’s total equity, such that dividends and the allocation to the dividend equalisation fund constitute 64.6 per cent of the distributed profit.

In keeping with the bank’s capital plan, the board of directors recommends a relatively low dividend payout ratio.

The board of directors recommends the supervisory board to set a cash dividend of NOK 2.25 per equity certificate, altogether totalling NOK 292m. This gives a payout ratio of 25.4 per cent of the group profit. The board of directors further recommends the supervisory board to allocate NOK 160m as gifts to non-profit causes, i.e. the same payout ratio as to the EC-holders. Of this sum, NOK 40m will be allocated to non-profit causes and NOK 120m donated to the foundation Sparebankstiftelsen SMN. NOK 679m and NOK 372m are added to the dividend equalisation fund and the ownerless capital respectively. The level of dividend and gifts is anchored in the bank’s capital plan and reflects the need to increase the bank’s core capital by maintaining a relatively low payout ratio.

After distribution of the profit for 2014 the EC-holder ratio (EC-holders’ share of total equity) remains 64.6 per cent.

Distribution of profit (NOKm)                                 2014 2013
Profit for the year, Parent bank 1,447 1,348
Transferred to/from revaluation reserve 57 -89
Profit for distribution  1,503 1,259
Dividends 292 227
Equalisation fund 679 587
Saving Bank's fund 372 321
Gifts 160 124
Total distributed 1,503 1,259

Strengthened net interest income

Net interest income in 2014 came to NOK 1,790m (1,616m). The improvement is ascribable to interest rate increases on loans to retail and corporate customers alike in the first half of 2013 as a result of increased capital requirements, and relatively high growth in loans and deposits in 2014. Net interest income for the fourth quarter was NOK 485m, an increase of NOK 22m from the third quarter. The increase in the fourth quarter is mainly ascribable to repricing of deposit products. Margins on loans sold to SpareBank 1 Boligkreditt and SpareBank 1 Næringskreditt are recorded as commission income, and commissions on loans sold to these two entities totalled NOK 427m (422m) as of the fourth quarter of 2014.

In the course of 2014 two general interest rate reductions were carried out (in June and December) on loans to retail customers, and the bank has thereby adapted its mortgage rates to the competitive situation. Over the year retail and customer deposits were repriced on several occasions, while costs of money market funding were reduced over the same period.

Increased commission income

Commission income and other operating income rose to NOK 1,512m (1,463m) in 2014, an increase of NOK 49m or 3.4 per cent.

Growth in income is mainly ascribable to a positive trend in income from accounting services, insurance and payments.

Commission income (NOKm) 2014 2013 Change
Payment transfers 239 233 6
Savings 48 50 -2
Insurance 138 124 14
Guarantee commission 57 56 1
Real estate agency 315 319 -4
Accountancy services 172 125 47
Active management 20 30 -10
Rent 45 45 0
Other commissions 50 59 -9
Commissions ex SB1 Boligkreditt and SB1 Næringskreditt 1,084 1,041 44
Commissions SB1 Boligkreditt and SB1 Næringskreditt 427 422 6
Total commissions 1,512 1,463 49

Financial investments

Overall return on financial investments (excluding the bank’s share of the profit/loss of affiliates and joint ventures) was NOK 193m (147m) in 2014. Overall return breaks down as follows:

  • Return on the group’s equity portfolios totalled NOK 202m (114m), of which a gain on the sale of and dividend on the bank’s stake in Nets Holding accounted for NOK 165m
  • Net loss on bonds and derivatives came to NOK 66m (40m) in 2014. SpareBank 1 SMN Kvartalet booked in the fourth quarter a negative related value to an interest rate swap of NOK 26m after tax. The interest rate swap was originally related to the construction of the bank's head office in Sondre gate 4.
  • Capital gains on forex and fixed income trading at SpareBank 1 SMN Markets was NOK 57m (73m)
Capital gains/dividends, shares (NOKm)                           2014 2013 Change
Capital gains/dividends, shares                        202 114 87
Bonds and derivatives -66 -40 -26
SpareBank 1 SMN Markets 57 73 -16
Net return on financial investments 193 147 46
SpareBank 1 Gruppen 358 210 148
SpareBank 1 Markets -32 -1 -30
SpareBank 1 Boligkreditt 38 40 -3
SpareBank 1 Næringskreditt 41 8 33
SpareBank 1 Kredittkort 2 - 2
BN Bank  93 91 2
Companies owned by SpareBank 1 SMN Invest 31 14 17
Other companies including held for sale -3 23 26
Income from investment in related companies 527 384 143
Total 720 531 189

Excellent performance by SpareBank 1 Gruppen

SpareBank 1 Gruppen’s post-tax profit for 2014 was NOK 1,849m (1,110m). The main contributor to the profit performance was the insurance business. The result for the non-life arm were particularly good due to reduced claims payments and recognition of run-off gains. SpareBank 1 SMN’s share of the profit in 2014 was NOK 358m (210m).

SpareBank 1 Markets

SpareBank 1 SMN holds a stake of 27.3 per cent in SpareBank 1 Markets. This company recorded a deficit of NOK 120m in 2014, of which SpareBank 1 SMN’s share was minus NOK 32m.

SpareBank 1 Markets has undergone a restructuring. The company has carried out extensive enhancement measures resulting in a halving of the cost level since 2012-13, and adjustments to the business model have brought lower market risk. SpareBank 1 SMN will integrate its capital market activities with SpareBank 1 Markets by agreement with the remaining owners, after which SpareBank 1 SMN’s stake will stand at 73.3 per cent. The other owners are SpareBank 1 Nord-Norge (10.0 per cent), SamSpar, i.e. Samarbeidende Sparebanker (10.0 per cent), Sparebanken Hedmark (6.1 per cent) and the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions and employee shareholders (0.6 per cent). This is described in further detail in Note 16 – Events after the balance sheet date.

SpareBank 1 Boligkreditt

SpareBank 1 Boligkreditt was established by the banks participating in the SpareBank 1 Alliance to take advantage of the market for covered bonds. The banks sell their best secured home mortgage loans to the company, giving them reduced funding costs. As of 31 December 2014 the bank had sold loans worth a total of NOK 28.4bn (30.5bn) to SpareBank 1 Boligkreditt, corresponding to 38 per cent (44 per cent) of overall loans to the retail market.

The bank’s stake in SpareBank 1 Boligkreditt at 31 December 2014 was 17.67 per cent, and the bank’s share of that company’s profit in 2014 was NOK 38m (40m). The bank’s holding reflects the bank's relative share of home mortgage loans sold.

The board of directors of SpareBank 1 SMN has, like that of the other alliance banks, decided to apply for a licence for a wholly owned residential mortgage company. This entity will be a supplement to SpareBank 1 Boligkreditt, which will remain the alliance banks’ main tool for raising loans through covered bonds. The residential mortgage company will be able to make use of loans outside the scope of SpareBank 1 Boligkreditt’s credit policy. Moreover, the establishment of a wholly owned residential mortgage company will eliminate issue posed by the regulations governing large exposures which regulate the maximum permitted intercompany balance between SpareBank 1 SMN and SpareBank 1 Boligkreditt.

SpareBank 1 Næringskreditt

SpareBank 1 Næringskreditt was established along the same lines, and with the same administration, as SpareBank 1 Boligkreditt. As of 31 December 2014, loans worth NOK 1.5bn (1.2bn) had been sold to SpareBank 1 Næringskreditt.

SpareBank 1 SMN owns 33.62 per cent of the company, and the bank’s share of the company's profit in 2014 was NOK 41m (8m). The bank's stake reflects its relative share of commercial property loans sold and its stake in BN Bank. The profit growth is ascribable to the change in the interest rate applied between SpareBank 1 Næringskreditt and BN Bank. This rate reflects the capital cost for BN Bank’s loans sold to SpareBank 1 Næringskreditt. 

SpareBank 1 Kredittkort

The company was in ordinary operation from 1 July 2014, and achieved a net profit of NOK 12m for the year. SpareBank 1 SMN share of the profit was NOK 2m. SpareBank 1 Kredittkort is owned by the SpareBank 1 banks, and SpareBank 1 SMN has a stake of 18.36 per cent. In June SpareBank 1 Kredittkort carried out a successful conversion of the SpareBank 1 banks’ credit card portfolio from Entercard. SpareBank 1 SMN’s share of the portfolio is NOK 715m.

BN Bank

SpareBank 1 SMN had a 33 per cent stake in BN Bank as of 31 December 2014. SpareBank 1 SMN’s share of the profit of BN Bank in 2014 was NOK 93m (91m), yielding a return on equity of 7.8 per cent. The result is affected by the change in the interest rate mentioned in the section on SpareBank 1 Næringskreditt.

BN Bank has focus on implementing profitability-enhancing measures, and it achieved increased income and reduced losses in 2014. Work continues on further internal measures with a view to profitability enhancement. BN Bank received approval to apply the advanced IRB approach to its corporate portfolio in April 2014. This resulted in a CET1 ratio of 14.9 per cent at end-2014.

Assosiated companies owned by SpareBank 1 SMN Invest

The overall profit for 2014 came to NOK 31m (14m). These companies are mainly engaged in the construction and sale of dwellings and commercial property in Sør Trøndelag.

Assets held for sale

A profit of NOK 0.2m (29.5m) was recorded on assets held for sale in 2014.

Limited cost growth

Overall costs came to NOK 1,789m (1,721m) in 2014. Group expenses have thus risen by NOK 68m or 3.9 per cent.

Parent bank cost growth rose by NOK 68m. This includes a provision of NOK 30m for reorganisation, set aside in the fourth quarter of 2014. Excluding this provision, parent bank costs grew NOK 38m or 3.1 per cent in 2014, in keeping with the bank’s objective.

As a result of changing customer behaviour involving far greater use of self-service solutions, the board of directors has adopted a goal of unchanged costs up to 2017. Efficiency enhancements at the parent bank will enable a workforce reduction of up to 100 FTEs in the period to end-2016. The cost of reorganisation reflects restructuring costs.

Operating expenses measured 1.52 per cent (1.54 per cent) of average total assets. The Group’s cost-income ratio was 44 per cent (48 per cent).

Low losses and low defaults

Net loan losses came to NOK 89m (101m) for 2014. This represents 0.08 per cent of total loans (0.09 per cent). Net losses in the fourth quarter in isolation were NOK 34m (32m).

Net losses of NOK 83m (95m) were recorded on loans to the group’s corporate customers, including losses of 6m (20m) at SpareBank 1 Finans Midt-Norge. On the retail portfolio a net loss of NOK 6m (7m) was recorded in 2014.

Total individually assessed loan impairment write-downs came to NOK 172m (173m).

Total problem loans (defaulted and doubtful) came to NOK 486m (544m), or 0.40 per cent (0.49 per cent) of gross loans, including loans sold to SpareBank 1 Boligkreditt and SpareBank 1 Næringskreditt.

Defaults in excess of 90 days totalled NOK 270m (387m), measuring 0.22 per cent (0.35 per cent) of gross lending. Of total defaults, NOK 67m (87m) are loss provisioned, corresponding to 25 per cent (23 per cent).

Defaults break down to NOK 136m (246m) on corporate customers and NOK 134m (140m) on retail customers.

Other doubtful exposures totalled NOK 216m (157m), i.e. 0.18 per cent (0.14 per cent) of gross outstanding loans. NOK 105m (86m) or 48 per cent (55 per cent) are loss provisioned.

Other doubtful exposures break down to NOK 201m (139m) to corporate customers and NOK 15m (18m) to retail customers.

Collectively assessed impairment write-downs

Collective assessment of impairment write-downs is based on two factors:

  • events that have affected the bank’s portfolio (causing migration between risk categories)
  • events that have not yet affected the portfolio since the bank’s credit risk models do not capture the effects rapidly enough (e.g. macroeconomic factors)

For 2014 no basis is found for any change in collectively assessed impairment write-downs. The aggregate volume of such write-downs is NOK 295m (295m). Collectively assessed impairment write-downs break down to NOK 90m on retail customers, NOK 188m on corporate customers and NOK 16m on SpareBank 1 Finans Midt-Norge.

Total assets of NOK 126bn

The bank's assets totalled NOK 126bn (115bn) at 31 December 2014, having risen by NOK 9bn or 9.3 per cent over the year. The rise in total assets is a consequence of increased lending.

As of 31 December 2014 loans worth a total of 30bn (32bn) had been sold from SpareBank 1 SMN to SpareBank 1 Boligkreditt and SpareBank 1 Næringskreditt. These loans do not figure as lending in the bank’s balance sheet. The comments covering lending growth do however include loans sold to SpareBank 1 Boligkreditt and SpareBank 1 Næringskreditt.


In 2014, total outstanding loans rose by NOK 8.1bn (7.1bn) or 7.3 per cent (6.8 per cent) to reach NOK 120.2bn (112.0bn) as of 31 December 2014.

Lending to retail customers rose by NOK 5.5bn (5.9bn) or 8.0 per cent (9.5 per cent) to reach NOK 74.0bn in 2014.

Growth in lending to corporates in 2014 was NOK 2.7bn (1.2bn) or 6.1 per cent (2.8 per cent). Overall loans to corporates totalled NOK 46.2bn (43.5bn) as of 31 December 2014. This growth is somewhat higher than the capital plan allows for, and this will be reflected in lending to corporates in 2015.

Loans to retail customers accounted for 62 per cent (61 per cent) of ordinary loans to customers at the end of 2014.

(For distribution by sector, see Note 5).


Customer deposits rose in 2014 by NOK 6.1bn (3.8bn) to reach NOK 62.2bn (56.1bn) at 31 December 2014. This represents a growth of 10.9 per cent (7.3 per cent).

Retail customer deposits rose by NOK 2.6bn (1.6bn) or 11.0 per cent (9.5 per cent) to reach NOK 26.5bn, while deposits from corporates rose by NOK 3.5bn (2.2bn) or 10.9 per cent (7.5 per cent) to NOK 35.7bn.

The deposit-to-loan ratio at SpareBank 1 SMN was 69 per cent as of 31 December 2014 (70 per cent).

(For distribution by sector, see Note 10).

Portfolio of investment products

The customer portfolio of off-balance sheet investment products totalled NOK 6.2bn (5.2bn) at 31 December 2014. Compared with the previous year, there are higher values on equity funds and active management, largely due to increased stock exchange values and good sales.

Saving products, customer portfolio (NOKm)                   2014 2013 Change
Equity funds 4,002 3,367 635
Pension products 597 555 42
Active management 1,611 1,240 371
Total 6,210 5,162 1,048


The bank’s insurance portfolio showed sound growth of 2.4 per cent in 2014. Non-life insurance delivered 1.6 per cent growth, personal insurance 10.4 per cent while growth in the occupational pensions portfolio declined by 4.4 per cent.

Insurance, premium volume (NOKm)                                2014 2013 Change
Non-life insurance 706 695 11
Personal insurance 245 222 23
Occupational pensions 174 182 -8
Total 1,125 1,099 26

Retail banking segment and corporate banking segment, parent bank

As from 2014 an organisational adjustment was carried through. The retail banking segment now covers agricultural customers, associations etc and sole proprietorships. In 2013 these customers were part of the SMB segment. Other customers in the SMB segment are as from 2014 included in the corporate banking segment. Historical data for the retail segment and the corporate segment are therefore incomplete and no comparison is made with the previous year’s figures. Economic capital is used to calculate return on capital employed from and including the third quarter of 2014.


Results (NOKm) Retail Market Corporate Market
Net interest  873 840
Interest from allocated capital 40 67
Total interest income 913 906
Commission income and other income 762 159
Net return on financial investments 1 29
Total income 1,675 1,095
Total operating expenses 809 318
Ordinary operating profit 867 777
Loss on loans, guarantees etc. 6 77
Result before tax including held for sale 861 699
Post-tax return on equity 19.2 % 10.0 %

Retail Banking

Operating income has increased due to increased margins on home loans and growth in lending and deposits, and totalled NOK 1,675m in 2014. Net interest income came to NOK 913m and commission income to NOK 762m. Return on capital employed in the private banking segment was 19.2 per cent. Economic capital of 13.5 per cent is used as capital employed, corresponding to the CET1 target the group intends to reach by 30 June 2106.

The lending margin in 2014 was 2.38 per cent (2.32 per cent), while the deposit-to-loan ratio was -0.55 per cent (-0.52 per cent) measured against three-month NIBOR. Average three-month NIBOR was reduced by ten basis points from the third to the fourth quarter.

In the last 12 months, lending to retail customers rose by 7.5 per cent and deposits from the same segment by 8.5 per cent.

Lending to retail borrowers generally carries low risk, as reflected in continued very low losses. There are no indications of a higher loss and default levels in the bank’s home mortgage loan portfolio. The loan portfolio is secured on residential properties, and the trend in house prices has been satisfactory the market area as a whole.

Corporate Banking

Operating income totalled NOK 1,095m in 2014. Net interest income was NOK 906m, while other income totalled NOK 188m.

Return on capital employed for the corporate banking segment was 10.0 per cent for 2104. Economic capital of 13.5 per cent is used as capital employed, corresponding to the CET1 target the group intends to reach by 30 June 2106.

The lending margin was 2.90 per cent (2.94 per cent) and the deposit margin was -0.55 per cent (-0.52 per cent) in 2014.

Growth in loans and deposits respectively in 2014 was 6.3 per cent and 8.8 per cent.

Incomes SpareBank 1 SMN Markets

SpareBank 1 SMN Markets delivers a complete range of capital market products and is an integral part of SMN’s parent bank operation.

SpareBank 1 SMN Markets posted total income of NOK 68.0m (103.0m) in 2014. Issuer services income and other income in 2013 include income from the corporate business which was transferred to SpareBank 1 Markets as from the fourth quarter of 2013.

Markets (NOKm)                                                                     2014 2013 Change
Currency trading 75.8 68.3 7.5
Securities, brokerage commission 0.9 21.6 -20.7
SpareBank 1 Markets -14.8 3.1 -17.9
VPS and other income 4.0 17.4 -13.4
Investments 2.1 -7.4 9.5
Total income 68.0 103.0 -35.0
Of gross income of NOK 68m, a total of NOK 29m is transferred to Corporate Banking and NOK 1m to Retail Banking. These amounts are the respective entities’ share of income on forex and fixed income business derived from their own customers.


The subsidiaries posted an aggregate pre-tax profit of NOK 124.6m (157.3m) in 2014. The results are from the companies’ financial statements.

Pre-tax profit (NOKm)                                                       2014 2013 Change
EiendomsMegler 1 Midt-Norge 50.9 60.7 -9.8
SpareBank 1 Finans Midt-Norge 67.9 50.7 17.3
SpareBank 1 Regnskapshuset SMN 40.5 14.4 26.1
Allegro Kapitalforvaltning 2.6 9.3 -6.7
SpareBank 1 SMN Invest  1.7 46.6 -45.0
Other companies -39.0 -24.4 -14.6
Total 124.6 157.3 -32.7

Eiendomsmegler 1 Midt-Norge leads the field in its catchment area with a market share of about 40 per cent. The company recorded a sound profit in 2014, but a slower market at the start of the year and increased price competition contributed to a weaker pre-tax profit than in 2013. The profit was NOK 50.9m (60.7m). The company arranged the sale of 6,383 dwellings in 2014 compared with 6,229 the previous year.

SpareBank 1 Finans Midt-Norge posted a profit of NOK 67.9m (50.7m) in 2014. The profit growth is ascribable to increased income from car loans and reduced losses in the leasing business. At year-end the company managed leases and car loan agreements worth a total of NOK 3.6bn of which leases accounted for NOK 1.9bn and car loans for NOK 1.7bn.

SpareBank 1 Regnskapshuset SMN posted a pre-tax profit of NOK 40.5m (14.4m) excluding income of NOK -0.5m from affiliates. Of this, NOK 7m comprises a gain on the sale of a 40 per cent stake in SpareBank 1 Regnskapshuset Østlandet.

SpareBank 1 Regnskapshuset SMN has a growth strategy based on the acquisition of small accounting firms. This represents a consolidation of a fragmented accounting industry. A further four accounting firms were acquired in 2014.

Allegro Kapitalforvaltning is an active management company that manages portfolios for clients primarily in SpareBank 1 SMN and the SamSpar banks. These banks are Allegro’s distribution channel. The company posted a profit of NOK 2.6m in 2014 (9.3m).

Sparebanken SMN Invest’s mission is to invest in shares, mainly in regional businesses. The company posted a pre-tax profit of NOK 1.7m in 2014 (profit of 46.6m). This profit is a consequence of value changes and realisation of losses or gains on the company’s overall shareholding, and is the profit shown in the company’s financial statements. In addition the company recorded profits totalling NOK 31m (14m) from owner interests in the property companies Grilstad Marina and Hommelvik Sjøside in 2014.

Other companies have an overall deficit of NOK 39.0m (deficit of 24.4m). These are mainly property companies that lease premises to SpareBank 1 SMN and other tenants.

Satisfactory funding and good liquidity

The bank has a conservative liquidity strategy. The strategy attaches importance to maintaining liquidity reserves that ensure the bank’s ability to survive twelve months of ordinary operation without need of fresh external funding.

The bank has liquidity reserves of NOK 19bn and thus has the funding needed for 24 months of ordinary operation without fresh external finance.

The bank’s funding sources and products are amply diversified. At year-end the proportion of money market funding in excess of one year was 87 per cent (72 per cent).

SpareBank 1 Boligkreditt is the bank’s chief source of funding, and as of 31 December 2014 loans totalling NOK 28bn had been sold to SpareBank 1 Boligkreditt.


SpareBank 1 SMN has a rating of A2 (negative outlook) with Moody’s and a rating of A- (stable outlook) with Fitch Ratings. The bank was placed on negative outlook by Moody’s in May 2014, as were a number of other Norwegian and European banks.

Financial position

After distribution of the profit for 2014, the CET1 capital ratio is 11.2 per cent (11.1 per cent), unchanged since the end of the third quarter of 2014. In the year’s last quarter the CET1 ratio was improved thanks to a good profit performance, but concurrently weakened by an increase in risk weighted assets after relatively high growth in lending to corporates.

The minimum requirement on CET1 capital as of 31 December 2014 was 10 per cent, of which aggregate buffer requirements made of 5.5 per cent. CET1 capital is core capital excluding hybrid capital.

(NOKm)                                              2014 2013
Tier 1 capital 10,674 9,374
Hybrid capital 1,707 1,615
Subordinated loan 2,555 1,428
Capital base 14,937 12,417
Required subordinated debt 7,625 6,767
Risk weigheted assets 95,317 84,591
Tier 1 capital ratio 11.2 % 11.1 %
Core capital ratio 13.0 % 13.0 %
Capital adequacy ratio 15.7 % 14.7 %

In 2014 the group shifted lending growth more over to the retail banking segment. Growth in risk-weighted assets will accordingly be lower than the underlying growth in credit which, in isolation, is positive for the bank’s capital charges. In the fourth quarter, however, growth in lending to corporate clients was higher, causing the capital requirement for this portfolio to increase compared with the previous quarter. For the year as a whole the capital need as regards the corporate portfolio was reduced, but the reduction is not sufficient to compensate for the steep increase in home mortgage loan weights that was implemented in the first quarter of 2014.

A countercyclical buffer of one per cent will be introduced at the end of the second quarter of 2015. The Ministry of Finance decided on 19 December that the countercyclical buffer would not be changed. The required period of notification for an increase is normally twelve months.

The board of directors of SpareBank 1 SMN continually assesses the capital situation and future capital requirements. The board considers it important for the group to be sufficiently capitalised to fulfil all regulatory requirements, as well as market expectations. The practical consequence is that the bank’s CET1 capital target remained unchanged, even thought SpareBank 1 SMN was not defined as a SIFI. The board of directors is planning for a CET1 ratio of 13.5 per cent including a countercyclical buffer of 1 per cent plus a reserve of 0.5 per cent.  

SpareBank 1 SMN applied in June 2013 for permission to apply the Advanced IRB approach to its corporate portfolio. Finanstilsynet (Norway’s FSA) had yet to issue a decision regarding approval at the end of the fourth quarter of 2014. The net effect of such approval will be curbed by the transitional rules (the “floor”).

The following are the most important measures in the group’s capital plan:

  • Continued sound banking operation through efficiency enhancements and prioritisation of profitable segments
  • The dividend policy to entail an effective payout ratio of 25–35 per cent of the group profit
  • Moderate growth in the bank’s asset-intensive activities, including priority given to lending to the retail and corporate segments in the bank’s catchment area

The group's capital plan presupposes approval of SpareBank 1 SMN's application to introduce the Advanced IRB approach.

SpareBank 1 SMN currently has no plans to issue equity capital, and the board of directors is of the view that other measures are sufficient to attain the goal of a CET1 ratio of 13.5 per cent by 30 June 2016.  

The bank is IRB approved and uses the IRB foundation approach to compute capital charges for credit risk.

The bank’s equity certificate (MING)

The book value of the bank’s EC as of 31 December 2014 including a recommended dividend of NOK 2.25 was NOK 62.04 (55.69), and earnings per EC were NOK 8.82 (6.92).  

The Price / Income ratio was 6.63 (7.95), and the Price / Book ratio was 0.94 (0.99).

At year-end the EC was priced at NOK 58.50, and dividend of NOK 1.75 per EC was paid in 2014 for the year 2013.

Risk factors

By the end of the fourth quarter of 2014 the oil price had fallen substantially, and firms’ expectations are weaker than previously. This is so far not reflected in the group’s loss and default levels, which remain low. The bank consider the credit quality of the bank’s loan portfolio to be satisfactory.

The bank expects low oil prices to affect various industries differently, and export-oriented industries will stand to benefit from a weakened NOK exchange rate in relation to the most important export markets. Cyclical developments are uncertain, and the bank expect that the economic climate may be somewhat weaker than previously assumed. This is down to moderate activity growth due to very weak international growth impulses. The region's industry structure has little direct exposure to oil related activity.

The bank has limited credit exposure to oil service related activity (about 4 per cent of aggregate lending), an industry that is seeing weaker demand. No basis has been found for individually assessed impairment write-downs on exposures to this sector. The bank also consider contract coverage and LTV values in the portfolio to be of such quality that at the end of 2014 no need has been found to increase collectively assessed impairment write-downs either. This assessment could change should the oil price remain low for a protracted period.

Unemployment is expected to remain at a low level, but employment growth is expected to be somewhat lower ahead. A continued low interest rate level is anticipated, and the bank accordingly expects the risk of loss in the retail banking portfolio to remain low. Credit demand from Norwegian households continues to outstrip wage growth, which could provide a basis for increased risk in the longer term. The bank reviews its credit policy on a continuous basis to ensure no increase in the risk level.

Steadily rising capital requirements combined with uncertainty particularly in relation to the handling of the countercyclical buffer, suggest that Norwegian banks will pursue a more conservative credit policy towards business and industry.

The bank’s results are affected directly and indirectly by the fluctuations in the securities markets. The indirect effect relates above all to the bank’s stake in SpareBank 1 Gruppen, where both the insurance business and fund management activities are affected by the fluctuations.

The bank is also exposed to risk related to access to external funding. This is reflected in the bank’s conservative liquidity strategy (see the above section on funding and liquidity).


The directors are highly pleased with the performance for 2014. The core business has achieved good income growth while at the same time cost growth is moderate and losses are being kept to very low levels.

The bank strengthened its market position in the retail segment, and shows sound growth in all business areas.

Growth in lending to business and industry has in the forth quarter been higher than set out in the capital plan, and lending to business and industry in 2015 will reflect this. The intention is to attain the CET1 target of 13.5 per cent in 2016 through moderate lending growth, profit retention, introduction of the advanced IRB approach and without launching an ordinary stock issue.

The falling oil price and a somewhat more negative economic situation has focused greater attention on banks’ loan exposure. Defaults at SpareBank 1 SMN are at a very low level, and no basis has been found for increasing individually or collectively assessed impairment write-downs.

The directors expect another good performance in 2015.

Changing customer behaviour involving increased use of digital channels and reduced visits to bank branches creates the need for a new approach to distribution of the bank’s products and services. The bank will optimise resource use between the channels and continuously adjust the distribution model so as to adapt its distribution to customer behaviour and to customers’ use of the channels. An efficient branch structure, staffed by competent advisers, combined with a customer-oriented direct bank and good self-service solutions, will enable customers to meet their needs through their preferred channels in as cost-effective manner as possible.

SpareBank 1 SMN has through the SpareBank 1 Alliance a good platform on which to implement the system adjustments needed in a cost-efficient manner.

Necessary investments will be made in technology in tandem with efficiency enhancements at the bank.

The board of directors has established a new target for the parent bank’s cost trend which requires unchanged costs up to the end of 2016.

Through the project SMN 2020, new service concepts are being developed and the cost level adapted to ensure that SpareBank 1 SMN is seen to be best for customer experience and that its competitive power is thereby maintained.

           Trondheim, 4. February 2015
           The Board of Directors of SpareBank 1 SMN 
Kjell Bordal Bård Benum Paul E. Hjelm-Hansen  Aud Skrudland 
(chair) (deputy chair)    
Morten Loktu Janne Thyø Thomsen Arnhild Holstad Venche Johnsen
      (employee rep.)
      Finn Haugan
      (Group CEO)
© SpareBank 1 SMN