DNB Raises Norway Lending Rates to Counter Tougher Capital Rules

DNB ASA, Norway’s largest bank, will increase prices on loans to pass on stricter rules the government imposed to cool the housing market to clients.

Lending rates will be increased by as much as 30 basis points on floating rate loans, parts of DNB’s loan portfolio for small and medium-sized companies, and “a significant part” of DNB Finans’ loan portfolio, Oslo-based DNB said in a statement today. The new prices will be effective immediately for new loans and for existing credit by the end of April, it said.

Norway is introducing stricter rules for its banks to cool down the housing market and prevent a repeat of the 1990s crisis that sent the country’s real estate prices plunging 40 percent. The Finance Ministry in December proposed tripling the risk-weights banks need to hold on mortgage assets to 35 percent after house prices and private debt burdens soared. It also proposed introducing a curb on covered bond issuance.

“Given its dominance in the Norwegian market, we view DNB as the the facto price setter,” Vegard Eid Medias and Jon David Gjertsen, analysts at Pareto Securities SA in Oslo, wrote in a note to clients today. The analysts said they expect other Norwegian lenders such as savings banks and Sweden’s Svenska Handelsbanken AB as well as Nordea Bank AB to follow.