The Swedish banking market
In Sweden, the financial sector is of fundamental importance for economic wellbeing and it is a pre-requisite for private and business life to function adequately. With an efficient and reliable system for savings, finance, payment intermediation and risk management, a considerable contribution is made to production, employment and welfare in the country. Banks and other credit institutions, insurance companies, securities companies and other companies within the financial sector manage this system.
In addition, the financial sector is one of the most important growth industries in the country. Employing more than 100 000 people, it accounts for almost four per cent of total production output, expressed as GNP.
Changes in the banking market
The past ten years has seen a rapid development of the financial sector in Sweden. Established companies have extended their operations while at the same time many new companies have entered the market. Swedish banks have also proved to be competitive outside Sweden and have increased their activities abroad.
Another important change has been the shift of activity between banking and insurance operations. Consequently, all the large banks have operations within the life insurance sector, whilst many of the large insurance companies have banks of their own.
Most Swedish bank customers use the internet and telephone for their banking contacts and transactions. This has enabled the development of new services and increased competition in the banking market with the establishment of new banks.
Since the 1990s, trust savings and pension savings have developed into very important types of saving, alongside the traditional methods of saving.