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Discontent with Danske Bank high, but poll shows sentiment improving



COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Discontent among Danske Bank (DANSKE.CO) customers remains high, although sentiment improved slightly in the last month as the Danish bank moved to address a 200 billion euro ($227 billion) money laundering scandal, figures from Voxmeter show.

FILE PHOTO: General view of the Danske Bank building in Copenhagen, Denmark, September 27, 2018. REUTERS/Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen/File Photo

Four in ten customers say they are considering leaving the bank within the next year, although the number mulling a move has fallen slightly since the exits of chief executive Thomas Borgen and chairman Ole Andersen, the polling firm’s data shows.

These management changes and the effort Danske Bank has placed on talking to its customers and apologizing for the scandal are beginning to have an impact, Voxmeter chief executive Christian Stjer said on Friday.

“A softening of opinions almost always begins from the inside,” Stjer said, adding that many dissatisfied customers do not in the end shift bank, even though they are considering it, because they find it too troublesome.

The figures from Voxmeter, which interviews almost 40,000 persons a year about banks, show there is still a very strong negative view of Danske Bank from customers at other banks.

Danske Bank said it was not surprised by the poll.

“What happened in the Estonia case is deeply regrettable. Just as much as we are apologizing for the whole course of the case, just as focused are we on learning from what has happened to ensure that nothing like that can happen again,” a spokesman for the bank said.

“We are fully aware that we have a huge task ahead of us in order to regain the public’s trust,” he added.

The scandal over suspicious payments between 2007 and 2015 through Danske Bank’s tiny Estonian branch has damaged Danes’ trust in banks, which have also been hit by a wider European dividend stripping scandal and other money laundering cases.

Negative media coverage of Danske Bank has spiked to a level not seen since recordings began seven years ago, other figures from Voxmeter showed.

Graphic on Danske Bank:

Reporting by Teis Jensen; Editing by Alexander Smith