* Sees capital need of NOK 40-60 bln vs NOK 40-50 bln
* Lending this year somewhat slower than earlier thought (Adds detail on capital, lending, housing market)
ASKER, Norway, June 20 (Reuters) - DNB, Norway’s biggest bank, may have to set aside up to 10 billion crowns more capital than previously estimated to meet the country’s regulatory requirements, its chief executive said on Thursday.
DNB may need 40 to 60 billion crowns ($7-$10.5 billion) of extra core capital by 2016, CEO Rune Bjerke said, above the bank’s projection in March for 40-50 billion.
“Therefore we must withhold more of our profit to build the capital demanded by the authorities,” Bjerke said. “We are doing three things to achieve that: pay less dividend for a while than our policy mandates, cut costs to become more efficient, and also increase revenues somewhat,” he said.
“The golden age of banking with super profits is over.”
Norway’s banks escaped the worst of the financial crisis relatively unharmed and have maintained some of the healthiest balance sheets. But regulators, recalling the region’s banking crisis of the early 1990s, have demanded tougher capital ratios than the most of Europe.
Bjerke also said that lending growth this year had been somewhat slower than earlier projected, with a slowdown also evident in economic data.
Norway’s central bank lowered its growth forecast on Thursday, expecting the mainland to expand by 2.5, well below last year’s 3.4 percent, as traditional industries are suffering from Europe’s slowdown.
But Bjerke also said that the slower lending growth, plus various regulatory measures, were cooling the housing market, the country’s biggest problem over the past year.
The International Monetary Fund and the OECD have both warned Norway that its housing market was at risk of overheating and that exceptionally low interest rates could further fuel the market as household credit has been growing faster than wages for a year.
“We believe that housing prices will slowly level off after several years of strong inflation,” Bjerke said. “It is possible there could even be a decline in housing prices in some market segments, but we do not expect a big drop in price.” ($1 = 5.7175 Norwegian krones) (Reporting by Henrik Stolen; Writing by Balazs Koranyi. Editing by Jane Merriman)