DNB maintains 3-4 percent lending growth target for 2018 - CEO

FILE PHOTO - People leave DNB bank's local office in Riga November 20, 2013. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

OSLO (Reuters) - Norwegian bank DNB DNB.OL maintains its guidance for 2018 lending growth of 3-4 percent, despite an increase in market rates, Chief Executive Rune Bjerke told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference on Tuesday.

Norwegian and international interest rates have risen in recent months, and Norway’s central bank last week said it will begin to raise its policy rate in August or September, earlier than previously planned.

The country’s bank regulator last month recommended the government should extend most of the restrictions it imposed last year on mortgage lending, but with some variations.

“We’re not anxious that somewhat higher rates will have a negative impact on the economy. I think the Norwegian economy is well-equipped to handle this,” Bjerke said.

“Our ambition is for lending growth of 3-4 percent, and there is nothing that suggests we’ll change that,” he added.

Reporting by Camilla Knudsen, writing by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche