Reporting entity

The operations of the Nordic Investment Bank (hereinafter called “the Bank” or “NIB”) are governed by an agreement (hereinafter called “the Agreement”) between the governments of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden (hereinafter called “the member countries”), and the statutes adopted in conjunction with the Agreement (hereinafter called “the Statutes”). NIB is an international financial institution that operates in accordance with sound banking principles. NIB finances private and public projects that have high priority for the member countries and borrowers. NIB finances projects both within and outside the member countries, and offers its clients long-term loans and guarantees on competitive market terms.

NIB acquires the funds to finance its lending by borrowing on international capital markets.

The authorised capital stock of the Bank is subscribed by the member countries. Any increase or decrease in the authorised capital stock shall be decided by the Board of Governors, upon a proposal of the Board of Directors of the Bank.  

In the member countries, the Bank has the legal status of an international legal person, with full legal capacity, and is exempt from payment restrictions and credit policy measures. The Agreement concerning NIB contains provisions regarding immunities and privileges accorded to the Bank, e.g. the exemption of the Bank’s assets and income from taxation.                  

The headquarters of the Bank are located at Fabianinkatu 34 in Helsinki, Finland.

Basis of accounting

The Bank’s financial statements have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). The financial statements have been prepared in accordance with the historical cost convention with some exceptions described in the policies below.

The cash flow statement has been prepared using the indirect method whereby operating profit is adjusted for effects of non-cash transactions such as depreciation and loan losses. The cash flows are classified by operating, investing and financing activities.

On 9 March 2017, the Board of Directors approved the financial statements for publication. These financial statements will be submitted for approval to the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors scheduled to be held no later than by the end of May 2017.

Functional and presentation currency

The Bank’s functional and presentation currency is the euro and the financial statements are presented in EUR 1,000, unless otherwise indicated. All figures in the accounts have been rounded and consequently the sum of individual figures may deviate from the presented sum figure. Furthermore, all percentages are subject to possible rounding differences.

Significant accounting judgements and estimates

As part of the process of preparing the financial statements in conformity with IFRS, the Bank’s management is required to make certain judgements, estimates and assumptions that may affect the Bank’s profits, its financial position and other information presented in the Annual Report. These estimates are based on available information and the judgements made by the Bank’s management. Actual outcomes may deviate from the assessments made, and such deviations may at times be significant.

The Bank uses various valuation models and techniques to estimate the fair values of assets and liabilities. There are significant uncertainties related to these estimates, in particular when they involve modelling complex financial instruments, such as derivative instruments used for hedging activities related to both borrowing and lending. The estimates are highly dependent on market data, such as the level of interest rates, currency rates and other factors. The uncertainties related to these estimates are reflected mainly in the statement of financial position. NIB undertakes continuous development in order to improve the basis for fair value estimates, with regard to both modelling and market data. Changes in estimates resulting from refinements in assumptions and methodologies are reflected in the period in which the enhancements are first applied.

Judgements and estimates are also associated with impairment testing of loans and claims.

Foreign currency translation

Monetary assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currencies are recognised in the accounts at the exchange rate prevailing on the closing date. Non-monetary assets and liabilities are recognised in the accounts at the euro rate prevailing on the transaction date. Income and expenses recognised in currencies other than the euro are converted on a daily basis to the euro, in accordance with the euro exchange rate prevailing on that day.

Realised and unrealised exchange rate gains and losses are recognised in the statement of comprehensive income.

The Bank uses the official exchange rates published for the euro by the European Central Bank with some exceptions, as disclosed in Note 25.

Recognition and derecognition of financial instruments

Financial instruments are recognised in the statement of financial position on a settlement date basis, except for derivative instruments, which are recognized on a trade date basis.

A financial asset is derecognised when the contractual rights to the cash flows from the financial asset expire.

A financial liability is derecognised from the statement of financial position when the obligation specified in the contract is discharged, cancelled or expires.

Basis for classification and measurement

The financial statements have been prepared on the historical cost basis, except for the following material items in the statement of financial position.

Following the early adoption of IFRS 9 in 2011, the Bank classifies its financial assets into the following categories: those measured at amortised cost, and those measured at fair value. This classification depends on both the contractual characteristics of the assets and the business model adopted for their management.

Financial assets at amortised cost

An investment is classified at “amortised cost” only if it is not designated as a FVTPL and both of the following criteria are met: the objective of the Bank’s business model is to hold the assets in order to collect the contractual cash flows, and the contractual terms of the financial assets must give rise on specified dates to cash flows that are only payments of principal and interest on the principal amount outstanding.

Financial assets at fair value

If either of the two criteria above is not met, the asset cannot be classified in the amortised cost category and must be classified at fair value.

Recognised financial assets and financial liabilities designated as hedged items in qualifying fair value hedge relationships are adjusted for changes in fair value attributable to the risk being hedged.

Determination of fair value

The fair value of financial instruments, including derivative instruments that are traded in a liquid market, is the bid or offered closing price on the balance sheet date. Where the fair values cannot be derived from active markets, they are determined using a variety of valuation techniques which include the use of mathematical models. The input to these models is taken from observable market data where possible. Many of NIB’s financial instruments are not traded in a liquid market, such as the Bank’s borrowing transactions with embedded derivative instruments. These are measured at fair value using different valuation models and techniques. This process involves determining future expected cash flows, which can then be discounted to the balance sheet date. The estimation of future cash flows for these instruments is subject to assumptions on market data, and in some cases, in particular where options are involved, on the behaviour of the Bank’s counterparties. The fair value estimate may therefore be subject to variations and may not be realisable in the market. Under different market assumptions, the values could also differ significantly.

The Bank measures fair values using the following fair value hierarchy, which reflects the significance of the inputs used in making the measurements:

Level 1: Quoted market prices (unadjusted) in an active market for identical instruments.

Level 2: Valuation techniques based on observable inputs, either directly (i.e. as prices) or indirectly (i.e. derived from prices). This category includes instruments valued using: quoted market prices in active markets for similar instruments, quoted prices for identical or similar instruments in markets that are considered less than active or other valuation techniques where all significant inputs are directly or indirectly observable from market data.

Level 3: Valuation techniques using significant unobservable inputs. This category includes all instruments where the valuation technique includes inputs not based on observable data and where the unobservable inputs have a significant effect on the instrument’s valuation. This category includes instruments that are valued based on quoted prices for similar instruments where significant unobservable adjustments or assumptions are required to reflect differences between the instruments.

See Note 19 for further details.

Offsetting

A financial asset and a financial liability are offset and the net amount recognised only where there is a legal right to do so and the intention is to settle on a net basis.

Cash and cash equivalents

Cash and cash equivalents comprise monetary assets and placements with original maturities of six months or less, calculated from the date the acquisition and placements were made.                    

Cash and cash equivalents in the cash flow statement refers to the net amount of monetary assets, placements and liabilities with original maturities of six months or less, calculated from the time the transaction was entered into.

Financial placements

Items recognised as financial placements in the statement of financial position include placements with credit institutions and placements in debt securities, for example, bonds and other debt certificates, as well as certain placements in instruments with equity features. The placements are initially recognised on the settlement date. Their subsequent accounting treatment depends on both the Bank’s business model for managing the placements and their contractual cash flow characteristics.

Loans outstanding

The Bank’s lending transactions are recognised in the statement of financial position at the time the funds are transferred to the borrower. Loans are recognised initially at historical cost, which corresponds to the fair value of the transferred funds, including transaction costs. Loans outstanding are carried at amortised cost. If the loans are hedged against changes in fair value caused by changes in market interest rates by using derivative instruments, they are recognised in the statement of financial position at fair value, with value changes recognised in the statement of comprehensive income.

Impairment of loans and receivables

The bank applies the principles set out in IAS 39 for impairment of loans and receivables. The bank will apply the expected credit loss model according to IFRS 9, from 1 January 2018.

Impairment of individually assessed loans

Exposures to obligors in default classes are classified as non-performing. A default occurs with regard to an obligor when either or both of the following have taken place:

(a) NIB considers that the obligor is unlikely to pay its credit obligations in full, without recourse by the institution to actions such as realising security.

(b) The obligor is past due by more than 90 or 180 days in the case of sovereign lending exposure to member countries, or countries with which NIB has an existing framework agreement in place.

Obligors that satisfy the criteria in (a) above are set to default class D1 and those that satisfy the criteria in (b) above are set to default class D2. If both criteria (a) and (b) are satisfied, the obligor is set to default class D2.

The Bank reviews its non-performing loans and receivables at each reporting date to assess whether an allowance for impairment should be recorded in the statement of comprehensive income. In particular, the judgement of the management is required in estimating the amount and timing of future cash flows when determining the level of allowance required. Such estimates are based on assumptions about a number of factors, and actual results may differ, resulting in future changes to the allowance.                 

Where the collectability of identified loans is in doubt, specific impairment losses are recognised in the statement of comprehensive income. Impairment is defined as the difference between the carrying value of the asset and the net present value of expected future cash flows, determined using the instrument’s original effective interest rate, where applicable. If the carrying amount of the loan is higher than the net present value of the estimated future cash flows, including the fair value of the collaterals, the loan is impaired.

For issued guarantees, the impairment is recognised when it is both probable that the guarantee will need to be settled and the settlement amount can be reliably estimated.

Impairment of collectively assessed loans

Loans that are not individually impaired will be transferred to a group of loans with similar risk characteristics for a collective impairment test.

The Bank assesses the need to make a collective impairment test on exposures that, although not specifically identified as requiring a specific allowance, have a greater risk of default than when originally granted. This collective impairment test is based on any deterioration in the internal rating of the groups of loans or investments from the time they were granted or acquired. These internal ratings take into consideration factors such as any deterioration in counterparty risk, the value of collaterals or securities received, and the outlook for the sector, as well as identified structural weaknesses or deterioration in cash flows.

The process includes the management’s judgement based on the current macroeconomic environment and the current view of the expected economic outlook. In the Bank’s view, the assumptions and estimates made are appropriately conservative and are reflective of the predicted economic conditions, the Bank’s portfolio characteristics and their correlation with losses incurred based on historical loss experience.  The impairment remains related to the group of loans until the losses have been identified on an individual basis.

Intangible assets

Intangible assets mainly consist of investments in software, software licences and ongoing investments in new ICT systems. Acquisitions that generate economic benefits exceeding costs beyond one year are recognised as intangible assets. The investments are carried at historical cost, and are amortised over the assessed useful life of the assets, which is estimated to be between three and five years. The amortisations are made on a straight-line basis.

Tangible assets

Tangible assets in the statement of financial position include land, buildings, office equipment and other tangible assets owned by the Bank. The assets are recognised at historical cost, less any accumulated depreciation based on their assessed useful life. Land is not depreciated. The Bank’s office building in Helsinki is depreciated on a straight-line basis over a 40-year period. The Bank’s other buildings are depreciated over a 30-year period. The depreciation period for office equipment and other tangible assets is determined by assessing the individual item. The depreciation period is usually three to five years. The depreciations are calculated on a straight-line basis.

Write-downs and impairment of intangible and tangible assets

The Bank’s assets are reviewed annually for impairment. If there is any objective evidence of impairment, the impairment loss is determined based on the recoverable amount of the assets.

Derivative instruments and hedge accounting

The Bank’s derivative instruments used to manage interest rate and currency risk are recognised on a trade-date basis at fair value in the statement of financial position as “Other assets” or “Other liabilities”. The Bank applies hedge accounting in accordance with IFRS 9 when the conditions set out by the standard are met. The hedge accounting is based on a clearly documented relationship between the item hedged and the hedging instrument. When there is a high (negative) correlation between the hedging instrument on the one hand and the value change of the hedged item or the cash flows generated by the hedged item on the other, the hedge is regarded as effective. The hedging relationship is documented at the time the hedge transaction is entered into, and the effectiveness of the hedge is continually assessed.

Derivatives where hedge accounting is not applied are recognised at fair value through the income statement.

Fair value hedging 

When a derivative is designated as the hedging instrument in a hedge of the change in fair value of a recognised asset or liability or a firm commitment that could affect profit or loss, changes in the fair value of the derivative are recognised immediately in profit or loss together with changes in the fair value of the hedged item that are attributable to the hedged risk in the same line item in the statement of profit or loss and OCI as the hedged item. Sometimes a derivative may be a component of a hybrid financial instrument that includes both the derivative and a host contract. Such embedded derivative instruments are part of a structured financing transaction that is hedged against changes in fair value by means of matching swap contracts. In such cases, both the hedged borrowing transaction and the hedging derivative instrument are recognised at fair value with changes in fair value in the statement of comprehensive income.

Currently the Banks fair value hedges mainly relate to swapping fixed to floating rates on its borrowing and lending transactions.

Cash flow hedging

When a derivative is designated as the hedging instrument in a hedge of the variability in cash flows attributable to a particular risk associated with a recognised asset or liability that could affect profit or loss, the effective portion of changes in the fair value of the derivative is recognised in OCI and presented in the hedging reserve within equity. Any ineffective portion of changes in the fair value of the derivative is recognised immediately in profit or loss. The amount recognised in OCI is reclassified to profit or loss as a reclassification adjustment in the same period as the hedged cash flows affect profit or loss, and in the same line item in the statement of profit or loss and OCI. Currently the Bank does not apply cash flow hedge accounting but may choose to in the future.

Foreign currency basis spread

Following the early adoption of IFRS 9 in 2011, the bank separates the foreign currency basis spread from financial instruments used in hedging and this separated amount is recorded in “Other comprehensive income” (OCI). The foreign currency basis spread will be zero upon maturity and therefore the amount recorded in OCI will not be reclassified to the income statement.

Discontinuance of hedge accounting

If the hedging derivative expires or is sold, terminated or exercised, or the hedge no longer meets the criteria for fair value hedge accounting, or the hedge designation is revoked, then hedge accounting is discontinued prospectively. Any adjustment up to the point of discontinuation to a hedged item for which the effective interest method is used is amortised to profit or loss as part of the recalculated effective interest rate of the item over its remaining life.

Debts evidenced by certificates

The Bank’s borrowing transactions are recognised in the statement of financial position at the time the funds are transferred to the Bank. The borrowing transactions are recognised initially at a cost that comprises the fair value of the funds transferred, less transaction costs. The Bank uses derivative instruments to hedge the fair value of virtually all its borrowing transactions. In these instances, the borrowing transaction is subsequently recognised in the statement of financial position at fair value, with any changes in value recognised in the statement of comprehensive income.                 

Securities delivered under repurchase agreements are not derecognised from the statement of financial position. Cash received under repurchase agreements is recognised in the statement of financial position as “Amounts owed to credit institutions”.

Equity

As of 31 December 2016, the Bank’s authorised and subscribed capital is EUR 6,141.9 million, of which the paid-in portion is EUR 418.6 million. Payment of the subscribed, non-paid-in portion of the authorised capital, i.e. the callable capital, will take place at the request of the Bank’s Board of Directors to the extent that the Board deems it necessary for the fulfilment of the Bank’s debt obligations.       

The Bank’s reserves have been built up by means of appropriations from the profits of previous accounting periods, and consist of the Statutory Reserve, as well as the General Credit Risk Fund and the Special Credit Risk Fund for PIL (see note 17).

The Bank’s profits, after allocation to appropriate credit risk funds, are transferred to the Statutory Reserve until it amounts to 10% of NIB’s subscribed authorised capital. Thereafter, the Board of Governors, upon a proposal by the Bank’s Board of Directors, decides upon the allocation of the profits between the reserve fund and dividends on the subscribed capital.

The General Credit Risk Fund is designed to cover unidentified exceptional risks in the Bank’s operations. Allocations to the Special Credit Risk Fund for PIL are made primarily to cover the Bank’s own risk in respect of credit losses on PIL loans.

The hedging reserve consists of the unrealised value changes of currency basis spreads of derivatives included in hedge accounting. Valuation changes will be zero upon maturity and therefore the amount recorded in the hedging reserve will not be reclassified to the income statement.

Interest

The Bank’s net interest income includes accrued interest on loans, debt securities, placements and accruals of the premium or discount value of financial instruments. Net interest income also includes interest expenses on debts, swap fees and borrowing costs.

Fees and commissions

Fees collected when disbursing loans are recognised as income at the time of the disbursement, which means that fees and commissions are recognised as income at the same time as the costs are incurred. Commitment fees are charged on loans that are agreed but not yet disbursed and are accrued in the statement of comprehensive income over the commitment period.

Annually recurrent costs arising as a result of the Bank’s borrowing, investment and payment transactions are recognised under the item “Commission expense and fees paid”.

Financial transactions

The Bank recognises in “Net profit on financial operations” both realised and unrealised gains and losses on debt securities and other financial instruments. Adjustments for hedge accounting are included.

Administrative expenses

The Bank provides services to its related parties, the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) and the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO). Payments received by the Bank for providing services at cost to these organisations are recognised as a reduction in the Bank’s administrative expenses. NIB receives a host country reimbursement from the Finnish Government equal to the tax withheld from the salaries of NIB’s employees. This payment reduces the Bank’s administrative expenses, as shown in Note 7.

Leasing agreements

Leasing agreements are classified as operating leases if the rewards and risks incident to ownership of the leased asset, in all major respects, lie with the lessor. Lease payments under operating leases are recognised on a straight-line basis over the lease term. The Bank’s rental agreements are classified as operating leases.

Employee pensions and insurance

The Bank is responsible for arranging pension security for its employees. In accordance with the Host Country Agreement between the Bank and the Finnish Government and as part of the Bank’s pension arrangements, the Bank has decided to apply the Finnish state pension system. Contributions to this pension system, which are paid into the Finnish State Pension Fund, are calculated as a percentage of salaries. The Finnish Ministry of Finance determines the basis for the contributions and establishes the actual percentage of the contributions according to a proposal from the local government pension institution Keva. See Note 7.

NIB also provides its permanent employees with a supplementary pension insurance scheme arranged by a private pension insurance company. This is group pension insurance based on a defined contribution plan. The Bank’s pension liability is completely covered.

In addition to the applicable local social security systems, NIB has taken out, for example, comprehensive accident, life, medical and disability insurance policies for its employees in the form of group insurance.

Segment information

Segment information and currency distribution in the notes are presented in nominal amounts. The adjustment to hedge accounting is presented as a separate item (except for Note 3, the primary reporting segment).

Reclassifications

Some other minor reclassifications have been made. The comparative figures have been adjusted accordingly.

New and amended standards applied in the financial year 2016

NIB has no transactions that have been materially affected by new amendments or standards during 2016.

Adoption of new and amended standards and interpretations applicable in future financial years

NIB has not yet adopted the following new and amended standards and interpretations already issued by the IASB. NIB will adopt them as of the effective date or, if the date is other than the first day of the financial year, from the beginning of the subsequent financial year.

  • New IFRS 9 Financial Instruments (effective for financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2018): IFRS 9 replaces the existing guidance in IAS 39 Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement. IFRS 9 includes revised guidance on the classification and measurement of financial instruments, including a new expected credit loss model for calculating impairment on financial assets, and the new general hedge accounting requirements. It also carries forward the guidance on recognition and derecognition of financial instruments from IAS 39.

    Classification and Measurement – The new standard introduces a new financial asset classification type, Fair value through other comprehensive income (FVOCI) for financial assets held in a business model whose objective is to hold assets to collect contractual cash flows and selling financial assets and the cash flows consist solely payments of principal and interest on the principal amount outstanding (“SPPI”). NIB is assessing the impact of this change and some assets may fall into this new category.

    Expected credit loss – The bank continues to develop its model for forecasting expected credit losses according to the new standard. Preliminary analysis indicates that the new approach will not have a very significant impact however, testing and calibration of the model continues and the final outcome may differ from the preliminary analysis.

  • IFRS 16 Leases substantially changes the accounting treatment as the majority of leases will become on-balance sheet liabilities with corresponding right of use assets on the balance sheet. The standard replaces IAS 17 Leases and is effective as of January 1, 2019. However, the Bank does not have significant leasing commitments and therefore the new standard is not expected to have a significant impact. The current operating lease commitments disclosed in Note 18 provide, subject to the provision of the standard, an indicator of the impact of the implementation of IFRS 16 on the Banks statement of financial position.

  • There are no other IFRS standards or interpretations that are not yet effective that would be expected to have a material impact on the Bank.