OP Financial Group in brief

 

OP Financial Group in brief

OP Financial Group is Finland's largest financial services group and fully owned by its customers.

OP has three main business segments: Banking, Non-life Insurance and Wealth Management. 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.

OP’s strategic aim is to gradually change from a plain financial services provider to a diversified services company of the digital era. While financial expertise remains our cornerstone, we are gradually expanding our business into new areas, including Health and Wellbeing Services, Housing-related Services and Mobility Services.

OP employs over 12,000 people. We have some 1.8 million owner-customers and 445,000 corporate customers. The number of our private customers is around 4 million.

Performance determined by success in two roles

OP's operations are based on the cooperative principle: cooperation and sharing the fruits of success with our customers. Based on our mission, we create sustainable prosperity, security and wellbeing for our owner-customers and in our operating region by means of our strong capital base and efficiency.

We follow our mission through a dual role typical of a cooperative society. In our business role, we see to our efficiency and capital base. In our social role, we promote the long-term success and prosperity of the community by representing a positive driver in the operating region. The social role involves impactful actions for the benefit of the community at both local and national level – digitally and physically. The combination of these two roles makes us particularly capable of developing new services and reinventing ourselves as our owners and operating environment change. Succeeding in both roles is a measure of OP Financial Group’s success.

In accordance with social principles based on the cooperative system, we always act in the best interests of our broader-based community and will therefore refrain from pursuing any targets of OP or individual players that conflict with the long-term targets of our operating region.

 

 

OP Financial Group structure

OP Financial Group is made up of some 170 independent OP cooperative banks and OP Cooperative which they own, including its subsidiaries and closely related companies.

 

 

 

 

 

Owner-customers

 

Owner-customer interests guide our operations

OP is owned by some 1.8 million owner-customers. In accordance with our mission we, owned by our customers, create prosperity and wellbeing for our owner-customers and our operating region. Owner-customers are therefore at the core of our business.

Everyone can become an owner-customer by paying a cooperative contribution to one's own OP cooperative bank. Such contribution entitles owner-customers to a diverse range of benefits and gives them the right to vote in the election of the bank's Representative Assembly. It is a one-time contribution – no other payments or charges exist. Since 2014, our owner-customers have been able to make additional investments in their own OP cooperative banks by means of Profit Shares. An OP cooperative bank will pay annual interest on Profit Shares on the basis of its financial performance, thus channelling part of its good performance for the benefit of its owner-customers. OP anticipates paying interest of 3.25% (3.25)  on Profit Shares for 2017.

 

 

Benefits and OP bonuses for owner-customers

A significant part of business performance is returned to owner-customers in terms of OP bonuses that come from banking, non-life and wealth management services and that are used to pay service charges and insurance bills. Owner-customers also get discounts on their insurance policies.

Moreover, owner-customers have access to specific owner-customer service packages, such as daily banking services, a new long-term fixed rate home loan and the OP investment partner service. Owner-customers can also buy, sell and switch the majority of OP funds’ units with no transaction costs.

A total of 103 million euros (101) of bonuses were used to pay for banking and wealth management services and 114 million euros (107) to pay non-life insurance premiums in 2017. Since 1999, we have granted over 1.9 billion euros in OP bonuses. In 2017, our owner-customers earned a total of 220 million euros (208) in OP bonuses. Non-life Insurance loyalty discounts granted totalled 70 million euros (67). Not having to pay most transaction charges related to mutual funds saved our owner-customers 5 million euros.

Owner-customers influence in various ways

In accordance with cooperative principles, owner-customers can, if they so wish, have an impact on the bank’s decision-making and development of operations. Through their representatives in the bank’s governing body, owner-customers can promote business and prosperity in the region.

Owner-customers can have an influence on the bank’s activities, for example, in the following ways:

  • In the OP cooperative bank’s governing body: The Representative Assembly is the highest decision-making body of the bank with owner-customers acting as its members. An owner-customer can run as a candidate for the Representative Assembly election and if elected, he/she can contribute to the bank’s activities. Every owner-customer has the opportunity to vote in the election of the Representative Assembly of the bank he/she owns.
  • In digital communities: As a new channel of influence, many banks have introduced an owner-customer community, a digital forum where the bank regularly requests owner-customer opinions and feedback on various matters. Through the community, owner-customers can influence, for example, where the bank donates funds for charitable purposes.
  • In product and service development: Customers can participate in OP’s product and service development in OP Helsinki's Vallila branch and online on our OP Lab website and our customer community Paja.

The biggest electronic voting in Finland thus far

In the autumn of 2017, OP Financial Group's 81 OP cooperative banks held an electronic election of the Representative Assembly. The nomination of candidates, using the voting advice application and the act of voting itself was possible online. Owner-customers elected from among them a Representative Assembly to their bank for the next four years. The election results were published in early December 2017.

Election of Representative Assemblies at OP:

  • 81 OP cooperative banks organising their election simultaneously
  • 1.5 million electors, of which 1.2 million had the opportunity to vote electronically
  • 5,600 candidates, with almost 2,400 elected to a Representative Assembly
  • Over 300,000 voters, with a 26% turnout
  • 66% of votes cast electronically, 34% by postal voting.

 

 

 

Corporate customers

 

Supporting corporate customers' fundamentals

OP provides its corporate customers with versatile banking, non-life insurance and wealth management services and health and wellbeing services. These include, for example, financing, payment transaction and cash management services, investment services, expert services related to business development, risk management, employee wellbeing and internationalisation. We aim at creating total customer relationships on a long-term basis, by tailoring solutions according to the customer’s needs.

A variety of choices and options are involved in the establishment of a business and the various stages of growth. OP provides support for all business stages. In 2017, OP began piloting of OP Self-employed, a service designed to make starting a business easier for beginner entrepreneurs.

International operations backed by our broad-based partner network and Baltic branches

We support companies’ business not only in Finland but also abroad through our extensive range of international services and a network of trusted partners.

As a corporate partner, we wish to promote the success and internationalisation of Finnish business. International service capabilities being high on the agenda, we establish, for example, well-thought-out international partnerships based on the needs of our customers. In late 2017, we opened a representative office in Shanghai, China in a bid to support Finnish companies' growth and internationalisation in the Asian market.

OP Financial Group also has branches in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Baltic Banking offers a comprehensive range of banking services for corporate customers. In December 2017, OP announced it would sell all share capital of its Baltic-based non-life insurance company Seesam Insurance As (Seesam), including its Latvian and Lithuanian branches, to Vienna Insurance Group (VIG). Established in 1991, Seesam became part of OP Financial Group in 2006. The completion of the sale is conditional on obtaining the regulatory approval of the authorities.

Alongside our own branches and representative offices, we provide international services in cooperation with our global partner network. OP cooperates with foreign banks which have established a firm foothold in their markets, boast the best expertise in local business and banking and have the best opportunities to provide corporate customers with services meeting the market needs. This cooperation ranges from payment transfers all the way to strategic partnerships. In non-life insurance, OP cooperates with RSA, a leading global non-life insurer operating in over 100 countries through its network.

 

 

 

Local impact of cooperate banks

 

Local impact of cooperate banks

A cooperative business form and the cooperative ideology add to the continuity and community spirit in OP's operating environment.

OP is strongly committed to its customers and operating environment. Thanks to our long-term knowledge of our local operating environment, we can finance households and companies – even during challenging times. Financing of local businesses is, indeed, one of the key prerequisites of regional prosperity in the long term. OP has a local impact across Finland, since OP Financial Group's branch and service network including some 400 branches is the most extensive and has the best coverage in the country.

Support to local communities

OP pursues its mission not only through its business role but also through its social role. This means fostering the livelihood and prosperity of the operating environment as well as support to non-profit organisations, donations and sponsorship. OP cooperative banks can make independent decisions to support, for instance, local cultural life and the physical education of children and young people provided by local sports clubs.

In 2017, 40 cooperative banks around Finland offered a total of over 1,000 summer jobs to young people aged from 15 to 17 in local non-profit organisations. This "Kesäduuni OPn piikkiin" campaign aimed at helping young people gain work experience by offering local non-profit organisations and clubs the opportunity to employ a young person for two weeks while an OP cooperative bank would pay their wages.

In honour of the Finland 100 jubilee year, OP wanted to lower the threshold for participating in voluntary work. Inviting everyone in Finland to do voluntary work together to attain 100 person years of volunteering, OP created a volunteer work exchange site at Hiiop100.fi. During the jubilee year, OP Financial Group’s personnel and administration did over 274 person years of volunteering work together with partners and other people.

In the Taloustaito project for improving young people's financial literacy, OP cooperative banks' and OP Financial Group's employees participate by giving financial skills training to a group of young people reached through youth work. Some bank volunteers also act as personal financial mentors to individual young people. The project coordinated by Helsinki Deaconess Institute aims to reach particularly young people struggling with their personal finance. In 2017, a total of 130 OP employees volunteered in the project.

OP also supported Finnish universities with large-scale donations. During the 2015–2017 donation period, OP cooperative banks and OP Cooperative donated a total of 6.3 million euros to Finnish universities. These donations to universities represent our contribution to safeguard the long-term success of university-level education and research and Finland as a whole.

OP cooperative banks are major employers and taxpayers

A large part of OP's economic impacts also involves indirect impacts on local and regional economic vitality. For example, OP is a major employer in many municipalities. At the end of 2017, the Group had 12,269 employees (12,227). Of these, 94 (93) % were permanently employed and 6 (7) per cent were fixed-term employees. Of Group employees, 11,847 were based in Finland, 180 in Estonia, 111 in Latvia, and 131 in Lithuania. OP had a total of 439 (492) summer employees and trainees during 2017.

In several municipalities, OP cooperative banks are among the largest taxpayers, and at Group level, OP is one of the biggest taxpayers in Finland. OP Financial Group's current tax for the financial year 2017 totalled 223 million euros (223).

See our tax footprint.

In 2017, three OP cooperative banks – OP Helsinki, OP Lounaismaa and OP Pohjois-Karjala – conducted surveys measuring the banks' regional and social impacts. The surveys aimed at identifying the key regional impacts of the OP cooperative banks and expressing the operations' impacts using tangible indicators. Based on the survey results, the banks will be able to describe their operations' effectiveness to outsiders, including owner-customers and other stakeholders. These surveys provide banks with a tool they can use to better develop their regional and social effectiveness.

 

 

 

 

 

Personnel

 

Employing top professionals

OP Financial Group’s journey towards becoming a diversified services company, as defined in our strategy, means a major change process also for the personnel. In HR matters, we focus on the renewal and development of our competencies, management and corporate culture.

The industry disruption challenges the organisation’s reinvention ability and tightens skill requirements in terms of administration, management and personnel. Cooperation, efficiency, reinvention and excellent change management capacity are at the core of management and leadership. OP’s culture is based on strong values and the spirit of continuous reinvention and reform. Highly skilled and motivated employees are a success factor, enabling OP to meet the challenges of the changing operating environment and digitalisation.

Various ways to develop and enhance competencies

OP Financial Group offers all employee groups a variety of ways to develop their competencies. The basis for development is to understand OP’s strategy and how OP’s strategic transformation will affect one’s own work, activities and competence needs.

During 2017, OP Financial Group has been building an operating model to update employee competencies. Such a model is being built since digitisation and automation will destroy some of the existing jobs in the financial sector. Meanwhile, digitisation and automation also create new jobs which require new competencies. The operating model aims to encourage and steer employees to keep their own labour market value up to date. OP seeks to provide support, in terms of education, training and in finding a new type of job, for those employees whose job will either cease to exist or drastically change in the future. The first actions within this model will be started in 2018, and some have already been piloted.

OP Financial Group's strategy and annual plan are being put into practice through annual performance and career development reviews covering all OP employees in Finland and abroad. The number of hours used for education and training totalled 15 h per employee in OP Financial Group in 2017.

In order to develop the competencies of the members of OP cooperative banks' Boards of Directors and Supervisory Boards, we have created comprehensive competence development packages consisting of online courses and training days. Board work and competence development aim to help the members successfully perform their duties in OP cooperative banks' governance, thereby supporting the reinvention of the entire OP Financial Group.

Contributing to work ability with personnel surveys and wellbeing questionnaire

OP Financial Group has two types of organisation-wide personnel surveys: an extensive Personnel Survey and a more fast-paced Personnel Pulse. The results of the 2017 Personnel Survey were good. According to the survey, OP’s key success factors are customer focus, confidence in the future and value-based performance.

The operating models of employee wellbeing, occupational healthcare and occupational safety practices increasingly contribute to safeguarding employees' work ability throughout their careers. The health and wellbeing questionnaire annually sent to employees enables us to identify priorities and needs for our employee wellbeing activities from the employee perspective.

 

 

OP is an attractive employer

In employer image surveys conducted by Universum in 2017, among business/commerce or IT professionals OP was the most attractive employer in the financial sector, ranking 7th among all sectors. In the corresponding survey for students, OP improved its rank among business students from 4th to 3rd with all employer sectors included. In the IT sector, OP was awarded as the year's highest climber as its rank rose from 31st to 15th.

We seek to constantly develop OP's national employer image among students and professionals through versatile cooperation, visibility and diversified career opportunities. Our cooperation with educational institutions included, for instance, various projects, recruitment events, expert lectures and student visits.

In the summer of 2017, OP Financial Group provided jobs for 439 summer employees. In addition, the OP Kiitorata trainee programme launched within Development and Technologies, aroused intense interest among university students. Based on the excellent results and experience from the pilot, the trainee programme was extended into other organisational units, too.

 

 

 

Stakeholders

 

Stakeholders

Stakeholder engagement forms a key part of OP's cooperative business model. Dialogue with stakeholders is a prerequisite for OP to succeed in its social role. By listening to our stakeholders, we can understand their expectations and then find ways to promote wellbeing in our operating environment. Through listening and discussion, we want to learn and understand how we, as a company, could take our efforts in seeking solutions to social challenges and contributing to our country's reform to the next level.

Stakeholder engagement aims to identify development targets in OP's corporate social responsibility, describe OP's transformation into a diversified services company of the digital era to stakeholders and make our dialogue with stakeholders even more effective. These efforts are underpinned by our Public Affairs unit created in 2017. The OP forum for stakeholders continued its regular meetings. The members of the forum include representatives of labour market organisations, think tanks, political parties, universities and non-governmental organisations.

We assess stakeholder views and engagement through various surveys and feedback requests. OP's own media channels, such as our Chydenius publication with a strong voice and mission, have been revamped to strengthen our dialogue with stakeholders, particularly among decision-makers.

 

 

The following table shows examples of our cooperation with stakeholders in 2017.

Stakeholder groups

Examples of our cooperation and meeting of stakeholder expectations

Personnel

OP Financial Group's entire personnel in Finland and abroad is covered by performance and career development reviews. The Group wants to provide equal working opportunities for everyone. We listen to our employees with regular personnel surveys.

Owner-customers and customers

OP Financial Group, owned by its customers, aims not to maximise profits for its owners but to provide, as efficiently as possible, the services which the cooperative's owner-customers need. We want to offer the sector's best loyalty benefits. Through participation in governing bodies, our owner-customers have a strong representation in OP Financial Group's decision-making. In addition, our customers are at the core of all our product and service development.

Investors

Investors OP Financial Group's investors include holders of Profit Shares issued by OP cooperative banks and holders of debt instruments issued by Group companies. OP conducts its financial reporting to the same extent as listed companies, while the IR function is responsible for maintaining relations with debt investors.

Representative Assembly and administration

In November 2017, OP Financial Group’s 81 cooperative banks held the election of the Representative Assembly where owner-customers elected from among them the Representative Assembly for their own bank for four years. A total of almost 2,400 members were elected to the Assemblies. The number of candidates totalled over 5,600.

Local and regional communities

OP cooperative banks organise a variety of events for different stakeholder groups, including school visits to promote financial literacy, lectures, customer events and traditional Hippo sports competitions for children. Many OP cooperative banks also support local sports clubs, cultural events, charity causes and entrepreneurship. OP is taking part in banks’ joint project to improve young people's financial literacy. In honour of the 100-year-old Finland, OP Financial Group’s personnel and administration did over 274 person years of volunteering work together with partners and other people.

Media

OP executives and experts meet media representatives, answer questions and initiate discussions in various channels. OP has an active social media presence. Mainly present on Facebook and Twitter, OP also continues to develop its own media, including op.media launched in 2017 and Chydenius, OP's revamped publication with a strong voice and mission.

Schools, universities and the scientific community

OP participates in several cooperation and recruitment events of universities and universities of applied sciences throughout Finland. In 2017, we provided numerous practical training and summer job positions and thesis opportunities for students. OP supports educational innovations through the HundrED project as one of its main partners. Moreover, OP cooperative banks and OP Cooperative donated a total of 6.3 million euros to Finnish universities during the 2015–2017 donation period.

Non-governmental organisations

OP is seeking to maintain active CSR communications and to respond to information and discussion requests. OP's Customer Experience and Communications function reports stakeholder concerns, if necessary, to the senior management. OP offers NGOs a new volunteer work exchange site at Hiiop100.fi.

Industry associations and labour market organisations

In line with its strategy, OP is transforming from a financial services group into a diversified services company and is, as an employer, a member of Service Sector Employees Palta. OP also has an active role in international industry associations, such as the European Association of Co-operative Banks (EACB).

Decision-makers and authorities

OP Financial Group actively conducts dialogues and cooperates with Finnish authorities, ministries and government officials regarding topical legislative projects. OP Financial Group's Legal Services and Public Affairs unit is responsible for supervising the Group's interests in legislative projects and it meets and informs members of the European and Finnish Parliaments concerning the effect of legislative projects on the Finnish financial sector. In its social role, OP aims to identify influencing methods generating positive effects on Finnish society and economy, too.