Commercial banks are also known as business banks and take the role of both financial intermediaries and as banks. The term 'commercial' demonstrates the banks original focus, which was on corporations and large businesses. Commercial banks now also deal with private customers and along with savings accounts, checkable deposits and term deposits they also grant loans to businesses and customers. The oldest commercial bank in Norway is Storebrand Bank, which was founded in 1767.
Savings banks are financial institutions that offer a wide range of services but mainly focus on dealing with their single clients savings accounts. Like commercial banks, you can choose from a wide range of savings banks in Norway. One of the oldest is Sparebanken Vest, founded in 1823.
Foreign banks also have branches in Norway, which are authorised and supervised by the Norwegian authorities. Along with other banks, they offer customers a wide range of services.
For expatriates opening a Norwegian bank account, it is advised that they choose a bank which offers comprehensive services. For example, DnB NOR, Fokus bank, Nordea or Postbanken. Nordea and DnB NOR also have English web sites.
In fact, some banks do not conduct their business from physical branches and instead they operate completely online. Clients are allowed to administrate their accounts, pay bills and transfer money from home.
Norwegian bank opening hours vary, but are generally from 8 am to 3.30 pm, Mondays to Fridays.