Finanssivalvonta

Important for banks to ensure availability of non-digital services and reasonable pricing of services

Share

According to its survey of basic banking services, the Financial Supervisory Authority (FIN-FSA) considers that, overall, the right of customers to basic banking services is being fulfilled appropriately. Banks must ensure, however, that adequate and affordable basic banking services are also available to customers who do not use digital services. The availability of cash must also be secured nationwide.

The overall level of fees charged for basic banking services increased in 2021. Banking is still least expensive for users of digital banking services. The price of paying a bill in non-digital service channels varies greatly from bank to bank. The FIN-FSA considers that the highest prices may jeopardise the reasonably priced availability of services in situations where people have no possibility to access digital service channels.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reduced the availability of branch services. Banks must also offer those customers who for one reason or another are unable to use digital services the basic banking services they need at a reasonable price,” says Anneli Tuominen, Director General of the FIN-FSA.

The results are presented in the FIN-FSA’s annual survey on the availability and pricing of banking services. In addition, as in 2019–2020, the survey identifies improvements in the accessibility and usability of basic banking services’ digital channels. In addition, the FIN-FSA investigated how banks meet their obligations to provide basic banking services to customers who do not use digital channels.

Branch network has continued to shrink

The service hours of branches continued to decline in 2021. The branch network also contracted at about the same rate as in previous years. The number of branches serving personal customers was 740 at the time of the survey, compared with 769 in 2020.

The reduction in the number of branches and the decline in their service hours have in some cases lengthened queuing times in branches unreasonably. It is important for banks to address the issue of reasonable queuing times.

Usability and accessibility of digital service channels have improved

The use of digital services has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, and banks consider this change in customer behaviour to be permanent. The customer’s threshold for the adoption of electronic services has lowered at the same time as services in branches have declined, particularly due to COVID-19 restrictions. A solid customer base continues to use branch services, however.

During 2021, banks have continued to develop digital banking services: they have improved the usability of services and promoted the accessibility of content. The FIN-FSA’s survey shows that some of the remote services and support for the use of services launched during the COVID-19 pandemic and originally planned to be temporary have also remained part of the banks’ permanent range of services.

Cash withdrawal services must be secured nationwide

Although the use of cash has been declining for a long time now, it remains the primary method of payment for hundreds of thousands of Finns. As the use of cash declines, there is a risk that the availability of cash withdrawal services will also fall below what is considered reasonable. The FIN-FSA considers it important that banks regularly assess the adequacy of the cash distribution channels they offer to customers and, in particular, that customers’ opportunities to access cash withdrawal services are also secured in sparsely populated areas nationwide.

The FIN-FSA also considers it necessary for legislation on the obligation to provide cash withdrawal services to be reviewed. In March 2022, the FIN-FSA submitted an initiative to the Ministry of Finance requesting that the Ministry assess the adequacy of existing legislation and possible needs for changes to ensure adequate availability of cash withdrawal services nationwide.

In case of cyber threats, it’s worth keeping a few days’ worth of cash at home

The intensified security situation has increased the potential for cyber threats. Denial-of-service attacks on bank services have also been observed in Finland.

“Banks’ mobile and online banking services are occasionally the target of denial-of-service and other cyber attacks. As a contingency for potential disruptions in card payments, it is recommended to set aside some cash for a few days’ needs,” says Tuominen.

On 1 April 2022, the FIN-FSA presented to the Parliamentary Supervisory Council a survey on the availability and pricing of basic banking services. The survey information is based on material obtained from the consumer payment account comparison website (www.fine.fi/maksutilivertailu, in Finnish), feedback from customers, stakeholders and supervised entities, and a survey of banks made in connection with the annual survey of basic banking services.

See also

Survey of basic banking services 2021

For further information, please contact:

Samu Kurri, Head of Department

Requests for interviews are coordinated by FIN-FSA Communications, tel. +358 9 183 5030, weekdays 9.00–16.00.

Keywords

Contacts

Media phone service numbercan be contacted on weekdays 9–16, except on Holy Thursday and New Year’s Eve on 9–13

Tel:+358 9 183 5030

About Finanssivalvonta

Finanssivalvonta
Finanssivalvonta
PL 103, Snellmaninkatu 6
00100 Helsinki

09 183 51https://www.finanssivalvonta.fi/

Finanssivalvonta, or the Financial Supervisory Authority (FIN-FSA), is the authority for supervision of Finland’s financial and insurance sectors. The entities supervised by the authority include banks, insurance and pension companies as well as other companies operating in the insurance sector, investment firms, fund management companies and the Helsinki Stock Exchange. We foster financial stability and confidence in the financial markets and enhance protection for customers, investors and theinsured.

Subscribe to releases from Finanssivalvonta

Subscribe to all the latest releases from Finanssivalvonta by registering your e-mail address below. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Latest releases from Finanssivalvonta

Penalty payment of EUR 25,000 and public warning for Nada express osk due to omissions concerning compliance with anti-money laundering regulations9.5.2022 16:20:00 EEST | Press release

The omissions relate to various obligations under the regulations on preventing money laundering and terrorist financing. Specifically, there have been shortcomings pertaining to the obliged entity's risk assessment, the assessment of risks associated with customer relationships, customer due diligence, the retention of customer due diligence data, the enhanced customer due diligence obligation, ongoing monitoring as well as the obligation to obtain information and report.

Nada express osk påförs en påföljdsavgift på 25 000 euro och tilldelas en offentlig varning för försummelse av bestämmelserna om förhindrande av penningtvätt9.5.2022 16:20:00 EEST | Tiedote

Försummelserna gäller flera skyldigheter enligt regelverket om förhindrande av penningtvätt och av finansiering av terrorism. Det har handlat om brister i den rapporteringsskyldigas riskbedömning, bedömningen av riskerna i anknytning till kundförhållandet (riskbaserad bedömning), kundkontroll och bevarande av kundkontrolluppgifter och skärpta åtgärder för kundkontroll samt i den fortlöpande uppföljningen och utrednings- och rapporteringsskyldigheten.

Nada express osk:lle 25 000 euron seuraamusmaksu ja julkinen varoitus laiminlyönneistä rahanpesun estämisen sääntelyn noudattamisessa9.5.2022 16:20:00 EEST | Tiedote

Laiminlyönnit koskevat useita rahanpesun ja terrorismin rahoittamisen estämisen sääntelyn velvoitteita. Kyse on ollut puutteista ilmoitusvelvollisen riskiarviossa, asiakassuhteisiin liittyvässä riskien arvioinnissa, asiakkaiden tuntemisessa, tuntemistietojen säilyttämisessä, tehostetussa tuntemisvelvollisuudessa ja jatkuvassa seurannassa sekä selonotto- ja ilmoitusvelvollisuudessa.

Penalty payment of EUR 10,000 and public warning for Halgan Services Oy due to omissions concerning compliance with anti-money laundering regulations13.4.2022 15:15:00 EEST | Press release

The omissions relate to various obligations under the regulations on preventing money laundering and terrorist financing. Specifically, this concerns deficiencies in the assessment of risks, in the risk-based assessment of customers, in customer due diligence, in the retention of customer due diligence data and in the enhanced customer due diligence obligation.

Halgan Services Oy påförs en påföljdsavgift på 10 000 euro och tilldelas en offentlig varning för försummelse att iaktta bestämmelserna om förhindrande av penningtvätt13.4.2022 15:15:00 EEST | Tiedote

Försummelserna gäller flera skyldigheter enligt regelverket om förhindrande av penningtvätt och av finansiering av terrorism. Det har handlat om brister i riskbedömningen, den riskbaserade bedömningen av kunder, kundkontroll och bevarande av kundkontrolluppgifter samt skärpta åtgärder för kundkontroll.

In our pressroom you can read all our latest releases, find our press contacts, images, documents and other relevant information about us.

Visit our pressroom