The main role of Personal Banking is to handle the banking business of private individuals. Bank branches throughout Iceland also provide general services to local companies.
Landsbankinn's activities in the housing loan market continued to be extensive in 2016. In total, the Bank issued ISK 64.5 bn in new housing loans in 2016. Around 83% of that amount was lent as inflation-indexed housing loans and 17% were non-indexed. In 2016, Landsbankinn's market share in new housing loans was 28%, according to a Gallup survey, which is similar to 2014 levels and slightly less than in 2015. This lower share in the housing loan market in 2016 is due for the most part to pension funds beginning to offer their members better terms and a higher loan-to-value ratio at year-end 2015.
Despite stiff competition in 2016, Landsbankinn maintained a robust presence on the housing loan market.
Landsbankinn lends up to 85% of the purchase price of housing. Loans for up to 70% of the purchase price are issued for loans with an up to 40-year term and an additional loan of 15% can be taken for a 15-year term. The additional loan is useful primarily for first-time buyers, not least young people. As before, the Bank places great emphasis on quality advice and prompt and professional handling of loan applications.
On 6 October 2016, Landsbankinn announced that it would from now on charge a fixed borrowing charge on all housing loans to individuals, instead of a percentage of the loan amount. The borrowing charge is now ISK 52,500 for every loan.
In most cases, this means that borrowers pay a much lower borrowing charge than before. Previously, and as an example, the borrowing charge and costs of an ISK 20 m housing loan to individuals amounted to ISK 155,000. No borrowing charge is levied on first-time buyers, as before.
The Bank registered a total of 5400 new housing loans to around 3250 individuals in its books in 2016. These figures include both new housing loans and refinancing.
Around mid-year 2016, Landsbankinn began issuing new debit cards. The new Visa debit cards replace the older Visa Electron cards. The new debit cards include a contactless function, which means that they can be used to pay amounts of up to ISK 5000 without inserting the card in a POS terminal and entering a PIN. The card must merely be held up against the POS terminal. Purchases exceeding ISK 5000 must be authenticated by entering a PIN. From time to time, card holders will be asked to enter their PIN even when making contactless payment and this is for the sake of security.
The new cards also bear a 16-digit card number and 3-digit CVC number. These numbers can be used to pay for service and purchases online. The new debit cards are of an international standard and produced in accordance with the most recent security requirements. They are accepted by many more vendors overseas than the older debit cards. Contactless debit cards have been used for many years in other European countries and according to information from Visa Europe, around 20% of all Visa transactions in Europe are now contactless.
All customers who hold Landsbankinn debit cards will have received new cards by the end of February 2017.
In 2015, Landsbankinn began offering customers 360° advice, a comprehensive financial advisory service that extends to all aspects of an individual's finances; savings, loans, insurance, etc.
Customers have responded positively to the advisory service from the start. In 2016, 8,318 customers received 360° financial advice. Following a meeting with an advisor, Landsbankinn sends customers an online survey, enquiring about their experience with the service. Gallup's survey shows that those customers who have received 360° advice are very satisfied with the service and, according to Gallup's survey from September 2016, those Landsbankinn customers who had received the service were the Bank's most satisfied customers.
In April 2016, Landsbankinn began working with Sjóvá hf. to offer insurance advice to the Bank's customers, as insurance is one of the factors reviewed as part of the 360° advisory service. Customers who wish for insurance advice are referred to Sjóvá's experts, who promptly contact the customers.