The Interview: Dagfinn Lunde

A four-decades career in banking and shipping has given Dagfinn Lunde a vast understanding of the industry’s financial needs. Here he talks about the difficulty shipowners currently face in raising finance, which has given rise to his new project, eShipfinance.com

AS a career banker and a devout shipping man, Dagfinn Lunde is clearly pained by the retreat that many banks have made from the industry in the last few years. At the same time, he tells Lloyd’s List, that has created a “huge opportunity” for others to step in to the ship finance arena if they can offer an alternative to banks, which are weighed down by costs and bound by increasingly strict regulations. While balance-sheet based statistics and market estimates have circulated purporting to show changes in banks’ shipping portfolios from year to year, there have been few authoritative numbers showing how much real lending capacity has vanished from the market.

“In terms of new lending capacity it must be at least 50% and I think it’s even more,” says Mr Lunde. “No bank is underwriting big amounts any more. They used to sign loans for $30m to $50m but not anymore. Now it’s maybe $10m to $15m for the lucky ones. “There has been a huge reduction in lending. Fewer and fewer banks will use their balance sheets for ship lending — that much is clear.”

Mr Lunde’s more than 40-year career in the banking and maritime industry has famously included stints as head of shipping and offshore, as well as a board member, at DVB Bank in Rotterdam and Frankfurt, manager of Den Norske Bank in New York and managing director of international tanker owners’ association Intertanko in London.