Sunday, September 16, 2012

IKEA Bank – Taking Advantage of a Weak Economy?

IKEA has silently launched its banking business. Its latest target is the Netherlands. Ikano Bank is fully owned by the Kamprad family, the founders or the IKEA outlets. 

The Ikano bank is not supervised by the Dutch National Bank and is therefore not part of the guarantee safety net that applies for current (and official) Dutch banks.

Ikano Bank is planning to allow consumer credit lines in its outlets.  According to the Chamber of Commerce, it encompasses interest free loans as well as loans up to 10,000 Euro.

According to its annual report, Ikano issues debit cards and is planning to issue credit cards in order to “provide a range of credit products”.

Since Ikano is not supervised by the Dutch National Bank, it resembles the IceSave structure. If you remember, the Icelandic bank folded and was not supervised and covered by the Dutch bank guarantee system.

Currently, Ikano is only supervised by the Swedish system, but not the Dutch one. Caveat Emptor!

As far as I can tell, it is taking advantage of the current economy. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, credit increase with 16 percent compared to the previous year.

Ikano started as a division of IKEA that manages real estate. In 1995, Kamprad established the bank, with one branch in Sweden. In 2009 the Ikano Group reorganized and clustered various financial activities.

Ikano Bank is currently a bank with branches in 16 countries Assets accumulate to Euro 203 million with outstanding loans of Euro 2.1 billion.  Income was reported at 342 million in 2011.

The bank is mainly active in Sweden, Denmark, Great Britain, Germany, Finland, Russia and Finland.  

The question remains: is IKEA taking advantage of consumers not being able to pay for IKEA merchandise the ordinary way? In that case – IKEA might find itself be caught up Dutch courts like Wehkamp once was....

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