Bluestep Bank AB (publ) Year-end report 2021
The year in brief
Performance and financial position
- Lending to the public increased by 14% to SEK 18 333m (SEK 16 116m). Adjusted for currency effects the increase was 10%. All countries are showing a positive portfolio development, mainly driven by increased lending to customer segments with lower risk.
- New lending for the year increased by 16% to SEK 7 169m (SEK 6 197m). Adjusted for the personal loan portfolio and currency effects the increase was also 16%, as the difference in new lending of personal loans in 2020 was equivalent to the currency effects in 2021.
- Operating profit increased by 51% and amounted to SEK 325m (SEK 215m). A stable net interest income together with decreased operating expenses mainly due to efficiency improvements during 2021 have contributed to the increased profit. The C/I ratio for the Bank has decreased to a level of 62%, which is eight percentage points less compared to previous year.
- Net credit losses amounted to SEK 7m (SEK 40m). This is equivalent to a credit loss level of 0.04% (0.25%). The decrease is mainly related to the divestment of the personal loan portfolio, but credit losses related to mortgages have also decreased compared to the previous year.
- The positive development of operating profit also contributed to an increase on the return on equity of four percentage points to 14.6% (10.1%).
- The Common Equity Tier 1 ratio (”CET1”) was 16.4% (19.7%). The CET1-target is 16%.
- The Board of Directors propose an ordinary dividend distribution of SEK 300m to the annual general meeting for fiscal year 2021.
- The diversification of the Group’s financing continued during the year, with increased outstanding bond volumes and reduced deposits from the public. The change has contributed to a lower funding cost.
- During the second quarter, the Bank issued its first NOK-denominated senior unsecured bond. The volume amounted to NOK 200m with a tenor of three years, which was increased to NOK 550m later in the same quarter.
- At the end of the year, the Group had an outstanding volume of SEK 2 050m and NOK 550m in senior unsecured bonds (under the Bank’s MTN-programme), SEK 5 300m in covered bonds (under the Bank’s MTCN-programme) as well as RMBS funding of SEK 492m.
- Deposits from the public decreased as planned by 17% to SEK 10 426m (SEK 12 613m).
Strategic development and significant events
- As the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority decided not to extend their dividend recommendation, the Board of Directors of Bluestep Holding AB (owning 100% of the Bank) held an extraordinary general meeting in October announcing a dividend distribution of SEK 250m.
- During 2021, the Bank signed the UN Principles for Responsible Banking, and launched green mortgages in Sweden.
- The common Nordic function for lending- and deposit administration was established, realising synergies and paving the way for future expansion.
- Expansion of equity-release product in Sweden and mortgages in Finland continue, and outstanding loan balances per end of year is approx. SEK 0.8bn. Operating result is still negatively impacted by approx. SEK 50m.
- Pontus Sardal joined as new Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) for the Bank in July.
- In October, Julia Ehrhardt was appointed to the Board of Directors, increasing the number of Board members from 7 to 8.
- The Covid-19 pandemic has had no material effects on neither profit- nor volume development during the year
Significant events and other information after the end of the period
- EQT VII, the indirect majority shareholder in the Bank, has initiated a review to explore strategic alternatives for its holding in the Group, including, but not limited to, a potential public listing. No decision has yet been made related to any strategic alternative, nor as to the timetable. Further updates to the market will be provided if and when appropriate.
Comment from Björn Lander, CEO, Bluestep Bank:
“2021 has been the year we have ticked off the final deliverables of our strategic roadmap, set out in 2018. The key deliverables, being the divestment of the personal loan portfolio, the establishment of a common Nordic banking platform, an increasing focus on sustainability and a new brand strategy have contributed to an increased number of customers in all of our product segments and current geographies, resulting in the best operating profit in the history of Bluestep Bank. All of the achievements under 2021 are proof that our strategic repositioning was right. We are now even better equipped to leverage our unique market position whilst continuing to grow our customer and product line – all within the scope of a specialized mortgage bank."
For further information, please contact:
Björn Lander, CEO, Bluestep Bank
+46 736 73 18 99
Sofia Hagman Buhlin, Head of Corporate Communications, Bluestep Bank
+46 708 98 24 29
Or visit: www.bluestepbank.com
Bluestep Bank AB (publ) is publishing this information which is obliged to be made publicly available pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation and the Norwegian Securities Trading Act § 5 - 12. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person set out above at 08.30 CET on 24 February 2022.