Danske Bank's chief executive has become one of the first leaders of a financial institution to issue a general apology for the lender's behaviour leading up to the financial crisis.

Last month the Danish bank rebranded its Irish operations - National Irish Bank - as Danske Bank.

At that time, the bank shut all its branches here to concentrate on online and telephone banking.

In an opinion piece for Politiken newspaper in Denmark, Chief Executive Eivind Kolding said: "In our ambition to meet the market's and investors' expectations about growth and to create short-term profit from ourselves and our customers, we lost a certain amount of focus on our long-term values. We admit that and apologise for it."

He also said Danske had been "oblivious to the speed limit" in the fast growth before the 2008-2009 crisis.