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ADVICE #171

How to choose a Bank in Finland?

In Finland in total, there are over 300 banks, the majority of which are small regional cooperative organizations. Cooperative banks are combined into groups, the largest - OP, which includes 186 of such banks. This group owns a large commercial Bank Pohjola and several other financial organizations. Among the largest Finnish banks there are also S-pankki, POP pankki, a Finnish branch of the international banks Danske Bank and Nordea, as well as a group of savings banks Saastopankki.

The feature of Finland is wide distribution of cooperative banks whose customers are often the shareholders (co-owners). Ownership of shares in a local co-operative Bank, part of a group OP or POP, allows you to receive annual dividends, which can offset part of the cost of banking services.

Based on the experience of Russians living in Finland, more loyal to foreigners OP and Danske Bank, although in general terms of opening Bank accounts is about the same. Advantages of S-pankki is the fact that it is in the group of S-ryhmä, including many supermarkets. When you pay for goods in these stores card S-pankki Bank customers receive substantial returns money to the account (usually up to 5%, sometimes more). On the other hand, the cost of service in this Bank is slightly higher than other large banks.

The competition between Finnish banks has led to the alignment of the aggregate average cost of service in them (plus, free basic services), so when choosing a Bank should target either the availability and cheapness of specific non-standard services (if needed) or ease of access to the Bank (many work only a few hours a day), availability of English speaking staff and quality of work with clients.

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