Sparbanken Nord and ForeningsSparbanken Join Forces in Norrbotten County

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Feb. 21, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- Sparbanken Nord and ForeningsSparbanken (Swedbank) are strengthening their ability to provide service and offerings to banking customers in Norrbotten County through an agreement on an expanded cooperation. Therefore an agreement has been reached that Sparbanken Nord will acquire ForeningsSparbanken's branch operations in the municipality of Gallivare, preliminary effective September 1 of this year.

"We firmly believe that the agreement with Sparbanken Nord will benefit customers in Gallivare as well as in the rest of Norrbotten County," says Allan Nystrom, head of ForeningsSparbanken in Norrbotten, ForeningsSparbanken Norr. "The cooperation will allow us to devote further energy to the efforts we have begun at ForeningsSparbanken to build up competence centers with greater access to specialized banking competence here in Norrbotten."

"We are now focusing our core business on six municipalities: Pitea, Alvsbyn, Arvidsjaur, Arjeplog, Jokkmokk and Gallivare," notes Erik Hagglov, President of Sparbanken Nord. "This year Sparbanken Nord will celebrate its 150th anniversary, and if you look at our development, it is only natural that we would continue to expand in this manner."

The two banks have maintained a longstanding cooperation as part of the working agreements between Sweden's independent savings banks and ForeningsSparbanken. This cooperation is now being taken a step further in Norrbotten. The county's development, with both growth and a shrinking population, places special demands on banking services in terms of their design and approach. This means that cooperation to build competence and increase access to specialist know-how is becoming a necessity for both banks in order to maintain and strengthen their service to customers.

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