Denmark's biggest financial institution, Danske Bank, has said it hopes to start paying dividend as early as this year and that the bank has now reached a turning point.

Danske Bank Chairman Ole Andersen told the annual general meeting the he was disappointed that they had not been been able to pay a dividend to shareholders in five years but that he hoped that 2013 would be different.

Late last year the bank closed its 27 National Irish Bank branches, as part of a rebranding of its Irish operation to Danske Bank.

"It is clearly the Board of Directors' goal that, with the earnings plans that have been laid, we can resume dividend payments soon - as early as for this year, we hope", he said.

"But it depends of course also on the macroeconomic situation and what the requirements from the authorities turn out to be."

Danske Bank made a fourth quarter pretax profit of 2.26 billion Danish crowns (€ 303.1 million).