OP Financial Group’s Year 2022
OP Financial Group and its owner-customers have been building Finnish society already for over 120 years. OP Financial Group’s Year 2022 and Sustainability describes how the Group executed its mission and strategy in 2022.
Key figures and ratios 2022
Review by the President and Group Chief Executive Officer
Our continuous strategy process improves our ability to stay alert and respond flexibly to changes and uncertainties in our business environment.
Timo Ritakallio, President and Group Chief Executive Officer
2022 will be remembered as an exceptional year in many respects. Russia’s aggressive war in Ukraine and the resulting energy crisis in Europe, combined with rapidly growing inflation and clearly higher market rates, caused exceptional levels of uncertainty in the financial sector’s operating environment.
A substantial rise in living costs affected the daily lives of our customers, driving households’ confidence in their finances and the Finnish economy to record lows. The faltering economy caused strong price fluctuations in the capital market, a major fall in stock and bond prices and, towards the end of the year, a decline in demand for home loans, a fall in residential sales and a weakening trend in home prices. Despite the gloomier economic outlook and higher market interest rates, the loan repayment capacity of households and businesses remained good.
Despite the many rapid and unforeseen changes in the operating environment, OP Financial Group reported historically high earnings for 2022. Our excellent performance proves that our strategic focus on our core business – banking and insurance – is delivering results. OP Financial Group is a financial services group owned by its customers. We will allocate part of our profitability improvement to supporting the finances of our almost 2.1 million owner-customers. We have decided to increase the OP bonuses earned by owner-customers for 2023 by 30%. The value of this additional benefit will exceed 60 million euros in total.
Our mission, values, vision and strategic priorities form a cohesive whole. Our strategic priorities define the clear choices we have made to achieve our vision. We have set five strategic priorities for the next few years: value for customers; profitable growth; efficient, high-quality operations; responsible business; and highly skilled, motivated and satisfied personnel. In addition, a strong culture of risk management and compliance forms the basis of everything we do.
We will build a sustainable tomorrow together
We want to be a responsible pioneer in the financial sector, in line with our strategy and values. Our sustainability and corporate responsibility work is guided by our sustainability programme, which was updated in August 2022.
Extra OP bonuses for OP cooperative banks’ owner-customers
In 2022, the business environment was challenging. The economic outlook is exceptionally uncertain, and the Finnish economy is expected to slow down markedly. OP Financial Group is a financial services group owned by its customers. In 2023, OP Financial Group wants to allocate part of its 2022 profitability improvement to support the daily lives of its almost 2.1 million owner-customers, by increasing their OP bonuses by 30%. On an annual basis, this means additional bonuses estimated to be worth more than 60 million euros for owner-customers.
OP Financial Group’s new sustainability programme
OP Financial Group plays an active role in enabling society to make the sustainability transition and promoting a greener, more sustainable tomorrow in the financial sector. OP Financial Group aims to be a sustainability forerunner in the financial sector. The new sustainability programme is built around three sustainability themes that guide the operations, future and impact of OP Financial Group. Based on our new sustainability programme, we will, for example, significantly decrease emissions across our loan and investment portfolios, promote diversity in our operations and further improve the sustainability competencies of our personnel.
Housing market cooled down amidst a challenging business environment
The first half of the year was fairly good in the housing market, but the challenging business environment in the second half saw both home sales and borrowing activity slowing from the previous year, falling close to their pre-pandemic level. In addition, housing costs clearly started to rise towards the end of the year as a result of higher energy prices and interest rates.
OP boosts the green transition
OP Financial Group and the European Investment Fund agreed on new risk sharing guarantee facilities in December 2022. The guarantee facilities promote the green transition and companies’ innovation activities and bring additional financing of approximately EUR 200 million to the market. The guarantee facilities help SMEs obtain financing for investments that accelerate the green transition and enable them to implement projects with lower collateral requirements. The different guarantee facility solutions will be available at OP cooperative banks in the early spring of 2023. In early 2022, OP Corporate Bank plc issued a green bond worth EUR 500 million in accordance with its updated Green Bond Framework. Proceeds raised through this bond are also used to promote sustainable corporate finance.
OP’s customers’ interest in saving and investment continued
Despite the uncertain business environment, OP mutual funds attracted 55,700 new unitholders, which accounted for 51% of total market growth. Almost 80% of the new unitholders selected responsible mutual funds. In share trading, the number of executed orders was at the level of 2021.