Profits in Difference

by | Sep 6, 2007 | Archives

While in Copenhagen to speak at the Jyske Bank seminar, I did some looking around, especially at Jyske Bank. I was once again impressed.  If you have been reading this ezine for long you know that my personal portfolio holds just two shares, Bank of Florida, a startup of ten years ago in Naples , Florida and Jyske Bank.

Let me state up front that this and other facts make me prejudiced.  

First, I am really impressed with Jyske’s service having banked personally with them for about two decades. I have referred thousands of readers there and rarely hear a complaint.

I usually have no idea how well my readers do with the bank, but once in awhile get a clue. While at the seminar, one reader approached me and said, “ Gary , you referred me to Jyske ten years ago and I invested $100,000. It is now worth over a million and I wanted to thank you.”

Hearing such words tickles Merri and me more than you can imagine.  This means we did our job well.  More important Jyske really supported what we believed and wrote.    

Third, Jyske really does understand markets.  Thomas Fischer and his associates have been responsible for selecting the specific investments in our model multi currency portfolios that have performed so incredibly well.  The emerging investments Thomas and his team selected in 2005 rose 115%.  The shares in the Green Portfolio this year are up 155% in ten months. You cannot get much better than that! 

So I am impressed with Jyske’s ability to select good investments.

I am also impressed with Jyske’s profitability.

The Jyske shares I hold have been especially profitable, up 35.4% per annum, for the past five years. This is world class + performance!  This is not a short term good luck thing either. In the last ten year’s Jyske shares are up 25.8% per annum and up 16.1% per annum since 1967.

I wondered if I should buy more Jyske shares?  My observation on this trip fortifies my prejudice because Jyske continues to be really different in a most positive way. 

This is a great sign to me.  My investing beliefs are based on seven major principles; spot trends, avoid lines, find value, be different, develop an intimate relationship with clients, keep overheads down, embrace change.

Jyske appears to be engaging all seven of these ideals.

With 4,216 (full-time) employees, Jyske Bank is the second-largest independent bank in Denmark and steering such a big ship in a new direction is often tough.  Yet the Jyske people have not only come up with a radical and entirely new (and progressive) banking service that they call “Jyske Difference”, but they have also implemented it in record time.

In September 2006, Jyske Bank opened a totally new branch layout in all their branches.  To design this layout, they sent a team to the US to come up with new ideas, but did not look in banks. Instead they visited places like Barnes & Noble and Starbucks. This was so smart.  Then they invested $72 million dollars in a renovation that gives Jyske a great lead and eventually will turn all commercial banking upside down.

The concept allows banking customers to put together their own banking solutions. The difference begins when you walk into a branch and step into a virtual fish tank.  This is hard to explain but really is cool.  Computer generated water and fish move beneath your feet. I loved it!  

The goal is to be the most customer friendly bank and this begins with a Starbucks’ style coffee bar.  Jyske became the first bank in Europe to introduce café-style banking.  The coffee bars are on the outside window so customers enjoying their excellent coffee make the statement to those walking by to “come on in.”  You do not have to be a customer to enjoy a good cup of coffee.  

By the bar is a Barnes and Noble sitting area where one is invited to settle in and read. There are a variety of books to peruse, plus Jyske has transformed their banking services into physical packages that helps customers or visitors  learn about what the bank can do for them.  For example, they have a drawing program to design a dream house and another that helps find out what kind of car the customer can afford.  Each branch has a host at the ‘AskBar’, where clients or visitors can have a chat with a personal advisor in a ‘games room’, or can be directed to view boxed ‘services’ that are setting on shelves.  All are welcome to just drop in for a coffee as well, a la Barnes & Noble.

What Jyske found in their design research that many consumers see banks and bank products as uniform – and a little boring. At the same time, customers are changing behavior. They want more influence and are demanding personal service. The creative consumer wants to create his or her own solution. Consumers want to tailor their own charter vacations, car, and bank products. With the new initiative, the bank can better meet the modern consumer. With Jyske Difference, Jyske Bank signals that they are more than a bank. Jyske Bank is a bank, a store, and a modern library. It is the place where customers become smarter, inspired, and experience a straightforward atmosphere.

Jyske catered to this understanding.

The bank also worked with Microsoft and Nortel to introduce advanced, new technology to help the customer

in real time when they entered the bank.  The bank introduces a uniform, corporate-wide IP telephony platform

integrated with desktop software for better visibility, collaboration and customer service.   They centralized their equipment and integrated all branches into a seamless unit.

Jyske has also worked hard to remain independent and universal. The bank is owned by more than 245,000 shareholders. No single shareholder has a controlling interest. Voting rights are restricted to a maximum 2,000 votes per shareholder.

The bank is de-centralized.  All branches operate separately within known policies and goals. Only two employees are required to make a decision for customers.

Jyske is also fanatical about investing in value. Specific rules have been replaced with principles and guidelines, within so employees can work independently.

Jyske launched this program in September 2006 and so far new customer signups have increased by 50%. This and its continued progressive management have helped the bank’s shareholder funds rise towards the region 1.5 billion dollars.

Invest in difference and consider investing in Jyske shares. You can learn more from Thomas Fischer at

I see big changes coming in Jyske’s international services as well so stay tuned to this ezine to learn about them as they unfold.  

Until next message may what we share make a difference for you as well.


Thomas Fischer from Jyske Bank and I will unveil the 2008 portfolios at the International Business & Investing Made EZ course in North Carolina, September 14-15-16, 2007. We hope to see you there. Details are at

Or join me and Jyske Bank at our hotel El Meson de las Flores for International Business & Investing Made EZ in Ecuador , November 9-10 and 11.

P.S.  Low Subscription Update. Here is the latest word from the large publisher that we have developed a cooperative plan to offer our Multi Currency Educational Service.  “ Gary , I have sent your promo out to a designer this week…we’re eager to market ASAP.  I’m waiting to hear back from our ops crew about how best to get you the orders.”

This means that the time to subscribe at the low, existing $149 price is nearly through.  To take advantage and save during these last days simply go to