The consolidation of Sweden’s largest bank, Nordbanken, and Finland’s largest bank, Merita, into MeritaNordbanken has been prompted by a more competitive banking environment throughout Europe, according to Jukka Niemi, the general manager of MeritaBank’s New York office.

      Speaking at a luncheon of the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce held at the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead Jan. 26, Mr. Niemi said that the merger which was initiated in October of last year will not be finalized until March.

      Once the merger is completed, he said that MeritaNordbanken with some $100 billion in assets will be one of the leading bank groups in the Nordic and Baltic regions.

      He added that growing markets in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the northeastern part of Russia combined with Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland are slowly evolving into a more unified area of great economic importance.

      Not only will MeritaNorbanken be in a good position to compete in this vibrant economic region, but it will be able to better support the operations of its clients in other areas, such as the Southeast U.S.

      We try to follow our prime customers and are building relationships with totally local companies who are customers to our customers, he added.

      Mr. Niemi may be reached at Merita Bank’s New York office by calling (212) 318-9333; fax, (212) 421-4420.  His e-mail address is  The bank’s web address is