January 25, 2018 / 2:03 PM / a year ago

Nordea's Norway unit sees continued growth in lending

OSLO, Jan 25 (Reuters) - The Norwegian unit of Nordic bank Nordea expects further growth in lending as the economy gathers pace and the housing market is expected to rebound, Oslo-based Chief Executive Snorre Storset told Reuters on Thursday.

** Nordea reported Q4 results below forecast earlier on Thursday

** “We will still see individual losses in the oil and offshore sector in 2018, but we are starting to see a reversal of some of the earlier collective provisions,” the head of the Norwegian unit said

** “We are starting to see that a higher oil price improves the situation for our customers in these sectors,” Storset said, adding that even if the situation is improving, it will still be challenging for some customers in 2018

** “We expect continued lending growth to businesses going forward. This quarter we have mainly seen increased demand from larger corporations. We see more optimism among small and medium sized companies, but so far they have not increased their capital needs significantly. We think that will come in the coming quarter

** “We are definitively open to new business, we are sufficiently capitalised

** “The Norwegian economy is in a positive development...Export companies benefit from the weak currency at the same time as oil related business makes a comeback, so it’s going in the right direction and we are a mirror of that

** “We expect the housing market to level off before summer, and housing prices may even rise in the second half of the year ... we see a positive underlying sentiment which contributes to growth in mortgage demand

** “The mortgage competition is tough, and there is a certain decline in margins, but that’s offset by higher lending growth, which gives a positive development for the overall interest income. (Reporting by Camilla Knudsen, editing by Terje Solsvik)

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