Retail customers

Arion Bank provides retail customers with high-quality and diverse financial services, wherever and whenever it suits them. The Bank operates 15 branches and a Call Centre and customers are also able to do their banking via our online bank, app and other digital channels. Our subsidiary Vörður offers a comprehensive range of insurance products. Arion Bank is deeply committed to environmental issues and we have placed great importance on developing green products such as green deposits, green car loans and green mortgages.

Convenient banking

Banking services have evolved rapidly in recent years and the process has been further accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Being able to tend to your finances wherever and whenever you want is more important than ever, and the developments made in recent years have proven absolutely invaluable in the current climate. In 2021 rules of procedure on responsible product management were introduced, where the emphasis is on protecting customers’ interests when developing the Bank’s products and ensuring that customers receive goods and services which are suitable for them.

Our customers have benefited from having access to state-of-the-art digital solutions, and 99% of all interaction with the Bank is now via channels such as the app and online banking. The majority of the Bank’s sales, or 72%, are made via these solutions, and comparative studies of internationals banks indicate that Arion Bank is now one of the global leaders in this area. Arion Bank also enjoys a healthy lead over its competitors on the domestic market, and the Arion app was named the best banking app in Iceland for the fifth year in a row in a survey of Icelandic banking customers by MMR.

The number of visits to branches decreased dramatically in 2021, falling to half the number in 2019. The chief reason behind this drop is Covid-19, and it was initially assumed that it would be a temporary decrease. However, the number of visits last summer, when access to the branches was unrestricted, compared with the same month the previous year, indicates that the decline is permanent. In addition, the number of digital users has grown sharply, up 21% between year-ends 2020 and 2021, and the number of monthly users of the Arion app has also rocketed. The role of our branches is also undergoing rapid transformation as the level of automation in general banking and lending increases. As a result the key role of branches has become to provide advice on the Bank’s products and assist on major decisions and more complex issues.

Branch visits
Number of customers
Number of contacts

More than ISK 200 billion in new mortgages

It was a record year in terms of mortgages, with approximately ISK 211 billion in new mortgages in 2021. The process of buying a home in Iceland has been transformed in recent years after Arion Bank became the first bank in Iceland to offer non-indexed loans in 2011. Currently, 64% of the Bank’s mortgage portfolio is non-indexed, compared with 25% at the end of 2016.

In recent years, Arion Bank has strived to offer new products to meet the demands of our customers, and last year was no exception. During the year a new loan feature was introduced, a mortgage payment holiday over the summer, where customers can choose to skip a repayment during the summer and have the amount added to the loan principal. The Bank also offers green mortgages for environmentally certified buildings and waives loan origination fees. In 2020 Arion Bank became the first bank to offer mortgages for borrowers with earnings in foreign currency. Such loans have enabled Icelanders living abroad and foreign nationals who want to buy a house in Iceland to finance their homes at competitive interest rates. As we see more jobs without location requirements and an increasing trend of people working from home, this new product has come just at the right time.

New mortgages
ISK bn.

Popular vehicle loans

The Bank’s vehicle financing division saw a huge increase in lending in 2021, with new vehicle loans up 43% from the previous year. New vehicle loans totalled ISK 8.9 billion, a record year since the vehicle financing unit was established in 2012. The loan portfolio showed a net increase of 26% in 2021, and we welcomed almost new 900 satisfied customers over the year. These excellent results can be put down to our competitive interest rates and flexibility.

New car sales to individuals are generally recovering after a slump in 2020, and there was a 14% increase in new motor vehicle registrations in 2020. Eco-friendly vehicles represented 67% of all newly registered vehicles in 2021, and the percentage of green car loans in Arion Bank’s loan portfolio, i.e. loans to buy electric cars and cars which are partly powered by renewable energy, increased from 17% to 30% during the year.

Car loans
ISK bn.


Deposits continue to grow

We saw a substantial increase in the number of salary earners getting paid into accounts at Arion Bank. In mid-2020 Arion Bank launched a deposit account called Green Deposits and its popularity far exceeded expectations, growing 64% in 2021. By putting savings into a Green Deposits account, Arion Bank and our customers are supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, deposits have grown substantially and the annual growth rate was far higher than the historical average, not just in the case of retail customers but also SMEs. Retail deposits increased by ISK 19 billion in 2021, more than twice as much as the previous year.

Arion Premía

Arion Premía is a new service launched by the Bank last year which is designed for our high net worth customers. The aim of Arion Premía is to ensure that this group, which has substantial deposits at the Bank and/or securities in the Bank’s custody, always get best service and the best available terms and rates on the Bank’s products. Premía customers have direct access to a special team of experts at the Bank who personalize the service package to meet the specific needs of each and every customer. At the end of the year more than 2,000 customers were enjoying the services of Arion Premía.

Increased automation in the lending process

We continued to make the loan application process more convenient by increasing the level of automation, such as for overdraft limits and credit card limits. We made this a priority because automatic loan processing provides customers with an instantaneous answer to their request, making it a better overall experience for the customer. In 2021 loans approved automatically represented 83% of such loans granted, compared with 75% in 2020.

Our open banking partnership with Leiguskjól has been very successful this year, and Leiguskjól has issued more than 1,700 guarantees totalling ISK 850 million on behalf of the Bank. This is an excellent example of successful collaboration with a seed company, which is beneficial to the Bank, our customers and the seed company itself.

Insurance - Arion Bank and Vörður a united team

Customers can get insurance from Vörður through Arion Bank and Vörður’s service channels, and insurance sales were excellent at Vörður during the year. At the end of the year the partnership was ramped up to the next level with the aim of enhancing customer experience and enabling customers to obtain comprehensive financial services in one place.

A service known as Tekjuvernd was also developed during the year. It is a unique service for customers of Arion Bank and Vörður, which gives customers a clear insight into their financial situation in different circumstances, such as in the event of death, accident, disability or retirement.

Card turnover stages recovery

Arion Bank offers a wide range of debit and credit cards with different benefits and travel insurance. Sales of new cards recovered strongly in the spring of 2021, as customers begin to travel again, following a sharp decline at the height of the pandemic.

The payment card turnover increased by 13% between years after contracting in 2020. The turnover in the final quarter of the year increased 21% YoY and has never been as high. Foreign turnover showed a strong increase, up 37% between years, and by the end of fourth quarter of 2021 it had passed Q4 2019 levels. The increase is not solely down to renewed wanderlust after Covid-19, as online shopping is constantly on the increase and is a major part of our customers’ shopping habits, particularly around Christmas. Online shopping represented almost 60% of foreign commerce in the fourth quarter of 2021. Domestic online shopping has also increased significantly, and has surpassed international online commerce in Icelandic krónur, increasing in total by 24% YoY.