Glitnir is one of the three major commercial banks of Iceland. It was created by the state-directed merger of the country's three privately held banks - Alþýðubanki (Union Bank), Verzlunarbanki (Bank of Commerce) and Iðnaðarbanki (The Industrial Bank) - and one failing publicly held bank - Útvegsbanki (Fisheries Bank) - to form Íslandsbanki in 1990. At the time, Íslandsbanki was the only major privately held commercial bank in Iceland. It was publicly listed on the Iceland Stock Exchange, in 1993. Íslandsbanki subsequently merged with FBA - The Icelandic Investment Bank in 2000.
Currently, the financial group Glitnir offers universal banking and is a leading niche player in three global segments; seafood/food, sustainable energy, and offshore supply vessels. Glitnir operates branches in London and Copenhagen, and has representative offices in Halifax, Canada, and in Shanghai, China. Services include retail, corporate and investment banking, stock trade and capital management. Glitnir is the sole owner of a bank in Luxembourg (Glitnir Bank Luxembourg S.A) and banks and financial services companies in Norway.
Glitnir considers Iceland and Norway its home markets. Since 2004, Glitnir has acquired BNbank and Glitnir bank (previously Kredittbanken), Glitnir Securities (previously Norse Securities) and Glitnir Kapitalforvaltning, the factoring company Glitnir Factoring (previously FactoNor), and 50.1 percent of Union Gruppen in Norway. In addition, Glitnir's subsidiary BNbank acquired 45 per cent of the shares in Norsk Privatøkonomi ASA, an independent financial advisory company with 12 branches in key areas of Norway in July 2006.
Glitnir continues to expand its operations in the Nordic region. In Sweden, Glitnir owns the leading Swedish brokerage firm Glitnir AB (formerly Fischer Partners). The acquisition of 68.1 per cent of the shares in the Finnish investment firm FIM (www.fim.com) was announced in early February 2007 and completed later in the spring of 2007.
Glitnir announced strong profits for 2006, with a return on equity after tax of 39.4 per cent.
On September 29, 2008 the Government of Iceland stated that it intended to nationalize Glitnir by acquiring a 75% share in the bank for 600 million euros. The government stated that it did not intend to keep the ownership of the bank for a long term period. However, the nationalization of Glitnir never went through as Glitnir was taken over by the Financial Supervisory Authority before the initial plan of the Icelandic government to purchase a 75% stake in the bank had been approved by the bank. The Financial Supervisory Authority (FME) took control of Glitnir on October 7.
Lárus Welding is the Chief Executive Officer of Glitnir. The Chief Executive Officer appointed by the Bank's Board of Directors is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Bank pursuant to the policy and resolutions of the Board of Directors. It is also the task of the CEO to ensure that the bank's operations are at all times consistent with the Articles of Association of the Company and applicable legislation.
Thorsteinn M. Jonsson was elected Chairman of the Board in April 2007.
Þorsteinn Már Baldvinsson was elected Chairman of the Board in February 2008