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Critical media coverage of the issues concerning our debt collection system

The case about the issues in our debt collection systems is deeply regrettable, and we are making every effort to correct the errors and compensate affected customers. The current media coverage repeats a number of accusations against Danske Bank and Danske Bank’s management. Here is our response.

First of all, we apologise for the actions taken and the decisions made in the past and for the consequences these have had for affected customers. It is deeply regrettable that no one listened to the employees and business partners who raised the issues internally, and that management failed to support the employees when they voiced their concerns. So we also owe an unreserved apology to the employees who were not heard.

Unfortunately, we cannot undo past mistakes, and we cannot guarantee that new mistakes will not occur, but we can and will ensure that all the issues that may arise are dealt with as quickly as possible.

What the case is about
In 2004, we introduced a new system to process debt collection cases. This resulted in a range of errors, which meant that we in some cases collected debt that was time-barred, or in some cases collected more debt than the customer owed. We have, since the top management became aware of the problems, worked to correct the errors, review the cases and compensate the customers fully. We are reviewing all customer cases in our debt collection systems. Out of those, 108,000 customer cases are at risk of over-collection and we expect that 10,000-15,000 customers are to be compensated. 

Read more about the errors in the debt collection system here and what you as a customer should do.

Criticism raised in the media

In a series of articles and news reports, the media is raising points of criticism and making accusations against Danske Bank and Danske Bank’s management.

Among other things, Danske Bank is criticised for having known about the issues in the debt collection department for years, for having ignored warnings about the scale of the issues and for having attempted to keep the case secret from the public. 

We would like to respond to these accusations here.

As mentioned earlier, the errors should never have occurred, and we deeply regret that they happened at all. Danske Bank has never claimed to be unaware of the issues. On the contrary, we have stated very clearly that the problem is precisely that no action was taken even though the issues were known at various levels in the organisation over the years. We have also acknowledged that we should have responded to that knowledge and done something to correct the errors at a much earlier stage. 

The executive leadership team of Danske Bank became aware of the issues in May 2019. Since then, we have been making every effort to clean up and compensate affected customers. We have updated the authorities about the case and communicated with affected customers on an ongoing basis in step with acquiring the knowledge required to provide correct information. We should of course have informed affected customers at an earlier stage, but we absolutely have not deliberately attempted to keep the errors secret. 

The case is complex and began many years ago. In step with investigating the issues, we have gained new knowledge about the scale of the issues and found related issues that also have to be solved. If we had known what we now know about the scale of the case, there are a number of things that we could have done better and faster. That does not, however, change the fact that we are, and have always been, determined to correct all errors and compensate all affected customers. 

We still focus on cleaning up and ensuring that all customers who may have suffered a loss as a result of our errors are fully compensated. We cannot rule out the possibility that new issues will emerge as we work our way through the case, but we can guarantee that they will be dealt with if that happens.

Here, you can read more about Danske Bank’s explanatory account of 11 September to the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority regarding the errors in the debt collection systems.

Read our response to specific criticism in the media in the Q&A below. 

Danske Bank receives order from the DFSA in debt case
The DFSA has on 26 November 2020 ordered Danske Bank to ensure that an impartial investigation of the remediation measures in the debt collection case is conducted. We welcome the order, and fully agree with the Danish FSA that it is absolutely essential that we can be sure that the steps we take to clean up this matter have the desired effect. It is a complex matter, and we therefore welcome the FSA's decision that we should hire an external partner with the right expertise to review the steps we have and will take. Our clear focus has always been to examine the matter thoroughly, correct the errors and compensate all affected customers. Danske Bank received four other orders in the matter from the Danish FSA in September. Find more information here. 

Q&A

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