October 25, 2018 / 6:03 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-SEB beats Q3 expectations on strong corporate lending demand

(Adds details, CEO quote)

STOCKHOLM, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Swedish banking group SEB reported third-quarter operating earnings above market expectations on Thursday, boosted by an uptick in lending demand from large corporations.

SEB, the Nordic region’s top corporate bank, saw operating profit in the quarter rising to 5.59 billion Swedish crowns ($613.9 million), beating a mean forecast for 5.37 billion crowns in a Reuters poll of analysts and compared with 5.38 billion crowns in the year-ago period.

Strong income on both interest and commission fees were partly offset by larger-than-expected loan losses.

“The uptick in demand for bank lending from large corporates as well as demand for advisory services continued throughout the period,” SEB Chief Executive Johan Torgeby said in a statement.

Share prices in Nordic banks have been under pressure this year after a string of money-laundering scandals have emerged from the Baltics, where many Nordic banks have a big presence.

SEB, which has not been directly linked with money-laundering, said it would continue to work proactively and in close collaboration with regulators.

“SEB has for many years applied a structured approach to continuously strengthen our capability in anti-money laundering,” Torgeby said.

Swedish media last week linked SEB with Germany’s biggest post-war fraud investigation, something that SEB denies. The investigation involves a share-trading scheme that the authorities say cost taxpayers billions of euros. ($1 = 9.1054 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Johan Ahlander; editing by Niklas Pollard and Gopakumar Warrier)

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