The director of Lånemegleren shakes his head over the statements made by BN Bank.

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- They seem to have greatly underestimated their competitors, while grossly overestimating their own product. After two years of dwindling competitiveness, they finally had enough. To us, their media statements come off as both tone deaf and slightly bitter.

These clear words come from the director of Lånemegleren, Fredrik Karlsen. For several years now, Lånemegleren has been one of the leading players when it comes to the brokering of consumer loans to Norwegian customers. Through collaborative agreements with a number of banks, they communicate the best offers to the customers who apply through their websites.

Karlsen emphasizes that Lånemegleren has great insight into this industry and that they know what it takes to ensure that the banks succeed.

BN Bank had big ambitions

It was with great surprise that Karlsen read how the director of retail at BN Bank, Endre Jo Reite, told the media that the house of cards was about to come crashing down, because of a large number of “rotten consumer loans”.

- It’s a bit strange that this statement comes now, considering how BN Bank always had big ambitions within the consumer loan industry.

In other words, Karlsen does not agree with the picture that is being painted, and goes on to explain that BN Bank contacted Lånemegleren in late 2016 to work out a deal. It was clear that BN Bank had great ambitions, and an agreement was made, which also included the brokering of mortgages, starting in the fourth quarter of 2017. Within the first quarter of 2017, the cooperation was up and running for consumer loans.

Underestimation and not a real player

Karlsen believes that the main reason that these statements were made now, is that BN Bank never was able to reach the bar they set for themselves, despite the great commitment within industry - and that’s what comes off as tone deaf.

- They never managed to become the serious player they envisioned and there is no doubt that they underestimated the industry and their competitors greatly, Karlsen says.

He goes on to say that they, in Lånemegleren, is left with the impression that BN Bank never intended to fulfill its part of the mutual agreement they made. This despite the fact that, according to Karlsen, the company experienced the cooperation with the bank as very good.

As a partner, Lånemegleren put in a lot of work to give the bank feedback (at the request of the bank itself), in order to improve their competitiveness and understanding of the market, as well as what the bank had to do with its products and processes to achieve their desired goals.

- We perceived this as foul play and wish that BN Bank would have upheld its part of the original deal that formed the basis of the cooperation. When it came time to implement this part of the agreement, we quickly realized that there were no plans for this on the side of the bank.

Karlsen emphasizes that there is no lingering bitterness on Lånemeglerens behalf regarding BN Bank and the agreement they made.

- Not at all. We tried our best to guide BN Bank in the right direction, but it fell on deaf ears. We had no need for a new partner at the time, instead it was BN Bank that contacted us.

Samdal and top sports

Director Fredrik Karlsen also feels it is somewhat ironic that Svein Tore Samdal, CEO of BN Bank, goes to the media and states that “consumer loans will create trouble for Norwegian society.” In the same article, parallels are drawn to Samdal’s time as coach for the national team, as a personal trainer for Marit Bjørgen, and how more cross-country skiers must lift themselves up and make themselves more attractive.

- His doomsday prophecies appear both comical and strange, especially considering that it is about an industry they very much want to succeed in - but failed with overall.

Karlsen points out that since Samdal has such vast experience from the top of sports, BN Bank should have been able to follow the same principles to be the best in their business.

- As an above average sports enthusiast, I associate the norwegian sports model with hard training, long term planning, teamwork, thorough research, technical innovation, helping others improve and, maybe most importantly; face the tough competition by bettering yourself. To put a finer point on it, this is what BN Bank should have been doing instead of exclaiming doomsday prophecies in all the cardinal directions.

It sounds stupid, considering the bank’s commitment to consumer loans over the past 2,5 years - and comes off as whiny. Samdal has obviously abandoned the principles he had as a sports leader.

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