Together through the ages
OP Financial Group has been building Finnish society for nearly 120 years. The Group’s role as the supporter of its customers and society at large has always been pivotal during crises. OP Financial Group’s Year 2020 review describes how the Group has carried out its mission and supported its customers and operating region during the exceptional year 2020.
OP Financial Group in brief
OP Financial Group, owned by its customers, is Finland’s largest financial services group. Our mission is to promote the sustainable prosperity, security and wellbeing of our owner-customers and operating region.
OP Financial Group is made up of 137 OP cooperative banks (31 Dec 2020) and the central cooperative which they own, including its subsidiaries and affiliated entities. Over 2 million owner-customers own the OP cooperative banks and thereby the entire OP Financial Group with a staff of over 12,000. The Group’s vision is to be the leading and most appealing financial services group in Finland for our customers, employees and partners. The Group’s business is based on the cooperative principle: cooperation and sharing the fruits of success with customers, meeting the needs of the community.
OP Financial Group's business consists of the following three business segments: Retail Banking (Banking for private and SME customers), Corporate Banking (Banking for corporate and institutional customers), and Insurance (Insurance customers). We provide our customers with the most extensive and diversified range of banking, investment and insurance services and the best loyalty benefits in the country. We are a local player with services available through a diverse range of digital channels and an extensive network of branches nationwide.
Concrete actions in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis
Review by the President and Group Chief Executive Officer
Through determined measures, we were able to ensure that our services critical to society were available also during the crisis.
Timo Ritakallio, President and Group Chief Executive Officer
The year 2020 was very exceptional for OP Financial Group as the global Covid-19 pandemic impacted our business environment in various ways. Our ability to change was put to the test when the pandemic spread to Finland at the beginning of March.
At first, we focused on ensuring the health and safety of our personnel and securing undisrupted operations so that our customers continued to receive the banking and insurance services they needed. Safety and productivity of working was at the centre of our actions.
Starting from spring, we fulfilled our mission by granting free-of-charge repayment holidays of up to 12 months to households and businesses. During the Covid-19 crisis, we granted a total of about 126,000 repayment holidays to our customers. During restrictive measures, OP cooperative banks reserved separate serving hours for people who need special support, and we also opened a telephone helpline to support risk groups’ use of banking services during the pandemic. We implemented our corporate responsibility by participating in an initiative to increase the coronavirus testing capacity and by donating the contribution of Pohjola Hospital staff to tasks critical to our society.
Our mission and core values – people first, responsibility, and succeeding together – guide our operations and choices and give a meaning to our work. Our vision shows us the direction. To achieve our vision, we are continuously monitoring our business environment and focusing on our strategic priorities.
As part of OP Financial Group’s strategy work, we draw up various scenarios for developments in our business environment, whose realisation we monitor, identifying trends for which the Group needs to prepare. The continuous strategy process helps meeting our owner-customers’ changing needs and expectations and reacting flexibly to the ongoing changes and uncertainties in the business environment.
Our strategy process proved efficient also during 2020 when the Covid-19 crisis made the outlook of the economy and the financial sector exceptionally uncertain and forced us to rapidly respond to changes.
Main events in 2020
Financial relief to our customers amid the Covid-19 crisis
Starting from March, OP Financial Group offered customers the opportunity to get repayment holidays and changes to repayment schedules, free of charge, if the customer had run into financial problems due to the Covid-19 crisis. Starting from April, Pohjola Insurance offered its customers flexibility in payment times due to the Covid-19 crisis. OP Real Estate Asset Management and OP cooperative banks allowed flexible rent payments for their tenants.
New digital services for our private and corporate customers
During the year, OP Financial Group launched several new digital services, and the exceptional Covid-19 year spurred customers’ move towards digital channels further. For corporate customers, OP launched OP Corporate Hub, a digital service for comprehensive financial monitoring, cash management and payment transactions. To help people start investing, OP opened the digital OP Investment Partner service that helps the customer reach their investment goal using responsible investment funds. A new Subscription management service brings together the customers’ continuous agreements and subscriptions, and their costs, in a single place to ease their management. OP Multi-bank Service enables viewing account information from different banks in one OP channel.
Work for the benefit of climate
During the year, OP Financial Group provided financing to businesses to support their contributions to sustainable economic growth, introduced new responsible products, reduced its emissions and increased information on the impacts of climate change. Emissions from the Group’s own operations decreased by 33 per cent in 2020.