OSLO, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Norway’s biggest bank DNB will expand its share buybacks in the near term and aims to cut costs by between 1.5 billion and 2 billion Norwegian crowns ($163 million-$218 million) in the next three years, it said on Wednesday.
Savings will come from initiatives in IT, distribution and automation, as well as structural changes, the bank said in a statement ahead of a strategy update in London.
The company last month said it would buy back 0.5% of its shares by April of next year, but on Wednesday doubled the target to 1%.
DNB maintained its current goal that operating costs should amount to less than 40% of operating income. In the third quarter, the cost-income ratio stood at 38.8%.
It also increased its targeted capital level to 17.9% of so-called common equity Tier 1 capital (CET1), from the earlier ratio of 16.8%, and said it was well positioned for future capital requirements.
The bank maintained that it aims to reach a return on equity (ROE) above 12% in the same period. By the end of September, the year-to-date ROE was 12.1%. ($1 = 9.1870 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Victoria Klesty, editing by Terje Solsvik)