Our history tells the story of an industry that has seen constant change. It also confirms that Sparebanken Møre has been able to adapt to economic fluctuations, new customer needs and technological advances. At the start of 2019, a strong and well-prepared bank is ready for the next chapter.
Attractive competence centre
Today, Sparebanken Møre is one of the few independent banks that does not belong to an established alliance. We have adhered to our contract banking philosophy since the start. This allows us the flexibility to choose to operate and develop on our own, or with partners where we believe this is best for our customers and the Bank. This model provides us with access to both expertise and networks, although it has also made heavy demands on our organisation. I think this have been crucial to the Bank’s positive development.
Expertise is required to assess and prioritise. And over time, the Bank has established a strong culture of training and employee development, with the aim of ensuring our team is as skilled as possible to make wise decisions. As an independent actor, we have a broad range of in-house specialist units and competence, and we are experiencing great interest in our expertise. In 2018 alone, we hired 19 new employees who will each in their own way help developing the Bank.
Strong financial position
To be a competitive bank for our customers, we need to achieve profitable, efficient and solid banking operations. The figures for 2018 show an organisation that is increasing its value creation and has control over its costs, at the same time as we are focusing heavily on organisational development and new technology.
The Bank’s strong financial position makes a good platform for further growth and development. In December 2018, the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway decided to reduce the Bank’s Pillar 2 requirement from 1.8 per cent to 1.7 per cent with effect from 31 March 2019. At the same time, Moody’s, the ratings agency, confirmed the Bank’s high level of creditworthiness in its semi-annual credit assessment. The analysis confirms that the Bank has maintained its A2 rating with stable outlook.
A high deposit-to-loan ratio, good rating and total assets of NOK 71 billion make us an important and competitive source of capital in our region.
Facilitator and contributor
We have to understand what our local communities need and expect from us in order to develop. We operate in a region known for its innovative culture, and we are determined to be both a facilitator and a contributor in this culture. At the end of 2018, we can look back at a number of collaborations that were established with the aim of producing strong centres of competence, local business development and attractive local communities.
We cannot list them all, but we can highlight a few, such as the TEFT Lab, which we opened together with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Ålesund in May. At this lab, we have established a strong specialist hub for innovation, finance and technology that will benefit the entire region. In August, Nobel laureate May-Britt Moser had the honour of opening the county’s first Newton Room at the Norwegian Maritime Competence Centre (NMK) in Ålesund. The Bank helped to realise the project, which provides pupils in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education with curriculum-based teaching in natural sciences and technology in new and exciting ways. In December, we also announced that the Bank would take part in the new Ålesund Municipality’s Smart City project, which will contribute to improved quality of life for the residents as well as increased value creation for local businesses.
We are also determined to support entrepreneurship in Nordvestlandet in order to help businesses develop. One specific initiative is the NÆRINGSTEFT skills journey, where the Bank facilitates educational sessions, challenges and network, while the entrepreneurs contribute to development and entrepreneurship that can create new jobs in our region. No fewer than 100 entrepreneur teams signed up when we announced the second round of NÆRINGSTEFT in the autumn 2018. This makes me both optimistic and proud of our region.
Proud of our history
Herrøe og Røvde Sparebank represented the beginning in 1843, and today – 175 years later – Sparebanken Møre is the largest bank in the county, with 28 branches in 24 municipalities in Møre og Romsdal.
Our local presence and our strong local commitment have been cornerstones of the Bank’s activities ever since the start. So, when planning our 175th anniversary, it was natural for us to include our local communities in the celebrations. As well as donating NOK 175,000 to good projects in every one of the 24 municipalities in which we have a branch, we also invited locals to giant birthday parties in both Ålesund and Molde.
During all these years, we have been a part of thousands of dreams and events in people’s lives. We have seen ideas born around a kitchen table or among the rocks on the seashore grow into major companies. We have seen villages and cities grow stronger and prouder, and, not least, we have felt the pride of being part of a region renowned for its vitality, tenacity, stamina and creative enthusiasm.
We are proud of our history, grateful for the trust and looking forward to the next chapter.
Trond Lars Nydal