HELSINKI, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Nordea Bank, the largest bank in the Nordic area, will switch its legal domicile and headquarters from Sweden to Finland in autumn, the bank said on Thursday.
The plan by the bank's board got an overwhelming 96.9 percent backing in the annual meeting in Stockholm on Thursday. The requirement had been 66 percent of the votes.
The chairman of board Bjorn Wahlroos told media the result was not surprising and it was an indication that the argument concerning "national feeling" does not affect major Swedish investors. An organization of Swedish small shareholders had opposed the move.
The present Nordea has been formed through several waves of mergers over the years. Wahlroos told newspaper Helsingin Sanomat that in Sweden their customer base is more split as there have been so many mergers there.
In Finland, Nordea dates back to two major commercial banks, Kansallis and Union Bank that merged as Merita Bank in the 1990s. Merita Bank then became part of Nordea.
With the move to Helsinki, Nordea will get under the European Central Bank control and will thus be on an equal footing with its major European competitors.
Finnish national broadcaster Yle on Thursday estimated Nordea could save a billion euros in the future as the banking control and security charges are lower in the eurozone than in Sweden.
Finnish Finance Minister Petteri Orpo has said in several interviews that Finland will offer Nordea a stable operating environment.