OSLO (Reuters) – Norway’s largest bank DNB reported a 17% rise in fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday, as expected, and said the reopening of society from coronavirus lockdowns has been a boost to Norwegian businesses.

DNB’s net profit rose to 6.16 billion Norwegian crowns ($697.9 million) for October-December from 5.27 billion crowns a year ago, in line with an average forecast of 6.15 billion crowns in a poll of analysts compiled by the firm.

“This growth reflects the strong resilience of the Norwegian business community, and once again large parts of the business sector are going at full speed,” the bank’s Chief Executive Kjerstin Braathen said in a statement.

DNB proposed a dividend of 9.75 crowns per share for 2021, up from 9 crowns for the previous year while analysts had expected 9.94 crowns on average.

($1 = 8.8271 Norwegian crowns)

(Reporting by Victoria Klesty, editing by Terje Solsvik)