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Brand history

Our roots are firmly entrenched in Sweden’s savings bank history, the cooperative agricultural bank tradition and Hansabank’s major role in the Baltic countries. During the years several symbols have been used.


From the savings-bank movement to Swedbank

Oppunda sparbank
Oppunda sparbank

The savings-bank movement was born in 1820, when Sweden’s first savings bank was founded in Gothenburg. The savings-bank concept spread quickly through the country. For the first hundred years, each savings bank had its own symbol. The famous savings-bank oak tree was not invented until the 1920s. Whether the tree in the Oppunda savings-bank symbol from the 1920s is a linden or an oak is still being discussed, but according to Josef Hugo Jönsson, the father of the savings-bank oak, the tree in the symbol is an oak.

Josef Hugo Jönsson was also the driving force behind a common marketing plan for all of Sweden’s savings banks.

Green Oak Tree
Green oak

Legend: The green oak tree was first used in a text about finances and savings that savings banks distributed in 1928. The Swedish artist Acke Kumlien drew the oak tree. In 1932 it was registered as the savings banks’ trademark.

Sweden’s Savings Banks Go to the Movies
Swedens Savings Banks go to the Movies- logo

Legend: In 1940, Swedish moviegoers viewed an advertisement for Swedish savings banks drawn by the illustrator Arvid Olsson. In the film, a mighty oak grows from a small acorn and reaches its branches to the sky. The legend beneath the tree reads, “Savings Banks of Sweden.”

Stylized Oak
Old Swedbank logo

Legend: In 1942 the oak from the filmed advertisement was stylized and refined into a green and white oak tree. This oak became the foundation of further development of the trademark, and many observers still consider this stylized green oak tree to be the ‘true’ savings-bank oak.

Four-Colour Oak
Old Swedbank logo

Legend: A temporary version of the symbol appeared in 1981: the four-colour oak, adapted to the colour printing process. The four-colour oak never replaced its classic forerunner. It was used alongside the stylized oak for a ten-year period.

Blue-Yellow-Red Oak
Old Swedbank logo

Legend: Sparbanken, as it was called in 1991, launched a wide-ranging national campaign featuring the blue-yellow-red oak tree as a trademark shared by all of the country’s savings banks. The kick-off took place on Sweden’s national holiday with the slogans, “On the 6th of June, the people of Sweden will get a new symbol” and “Sparbanken is the most Swedish of banks.”

At the time, however, 90 banks declined involvement in the campaign and simply cooperated with Sparbanken in Sweden. These banks designed a trademark of their own based on the former savings-bank oak tree.

FöreningsSparbanken
FöreningsSparbanken

Legend: When Sparbanken and Föreningsbanken merged in 1997 and became FöreningsSparbanken they created the familiar coin trademark. Lars Hall drew the trademark and combined the classic savings-bank oak tree with the traditional sheaf of grain representing Föreningsbanken.

The coin’s designer, Lars Hall, spoke of tradition and rebirth. The copper-coloured coin was selected in line with the bank’s goal to retain its image as “the bank of the people.”

Swedbank Coin
Swedbank logo

Legend: The new international Nordic-Baltic banking group chose the name Swedbank in 2006. At the same time a new logotype was created. The popular coin developed in 1997 proved a winner in marketing surveys, so it was retained. Föreningsbanken’s sheaf of grain was cut, but Josef Hugo Jönsson’s oak from the 1920s is still holding its own.

Orange is the main colour, and it unites the former symbols of FöreningsSparbanken and Hansabank.

Föreningsbanken-FöreningsSparbanken

While the savings banks were growing, sixteen farmers, homeowners, and professional gardeners in Västerhaninge outside of Stockholm joined to form the first agricultural cooperative credit society in 1915. Five years later, a central organization was created. In 1930, Svenska Jordbrukskreditkassan was created. A common symbol was created for all the agricultural cooperative credit societies—an emblem representing two horses pulling a plough.

Agricultural Cooperative Credit Society (Sw. Jordbrukskassan)

Jordbrukskassans första symbol

The Agricultural Cooperative Credit Society's first symbol clearly shows the bank's close connection with agriculture. 

Framed sheaf of grain
Framed Sheaf of Grain

Legend: As the agricultural cooperative credit movement grew, the sheaf of grain was developed as a symbol of the bank’s agricultural ties. In a document from the 1960s, we can read, “For agriculture to be efficient and strong, it needs credit. A strong cooperative movement provides expanded opportunities. The agricultural cooperative credit societies serve this end.”

 Green symbol 
Föreningsbanken logo

Legend: A stylized green sheaf with “Föreningsbanken” written in the same green colour, Föreningsbanken’s new symbol, was registered in 1974. New signs were put up at bank offices all over the country. The new name had a powerful pervasive impact.

Hansabank

 Hansabank ship
Hansabank logo

Legend: Hansabank was formed in 1991, and a common logotype was developed for use in all the countries in which the bank did business. A stylized ship was used to create continuity, relating the historic Hanseatic League era to the forward-looking and goal-oriented Hansabank. The ship symbolizes vitality, clarity and the creation of new values. The colours selected were orange for positivism, vitality, openness and a striving for innovation and dynamism, and turquoise for calm, balance, stability and trust.

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