Pohjola Pankki Oyj : Helsinki OP Bank is a believer of branches

       Pohjola Pankki Oyj : Helsinki OP Bank is a believer of branches

Web and mobile banking has become a commonplace although people still visit
bank branches.Every year, Helsinki OP Bank makes around 100,000 appointments
with its customers and there is a multiple number of customers without
appointments.The end of July saw an opening of a brand new branch in Tapiola,
Espoo, with a new service model and look and feel.

According to customer surveys, people are increasingly willing to use
financial and insurance services irrespective of time and place. Web banking
logons have grown at a steady rate for years now and mobile logons have
exploded during the last 12 months, whereas the use of teller services has
dropped by 10%.

- But then again, people find it important to have the option of going to a
branch when major and long-term financial decisions are involved: negotiating
a home loan, an ideal insurance coverage and a saving-for-retirement plan.
People still appreciate face-to-face meetings with a bank employee who
understands local conditions, states Katja Taponen, Area Manager, Western
Region, Helsinki OP Bank Plc.

Change in focus on demand for teller services

How should we develop branches so that they meet changing customer needs was
the first question that we asked with the aim of reshaping our service model
for the branch and modernise the branch.

- In a more complex world, people tend to increasingly need experts' in-depth
knowledge of and advice on financial matters. As the use of daily financial
services has gone digital, employees at branches can increasingly focus on
more sophisticated negotiations and agreements and on customer care, says
Taponen.

More service

Service convenience, personal service and cosy premises were the key focus in
developing and designing the branch and the new service model. The revamped
branch premises are divided into meeting facilities for expert services and an
entirely novel, shop-like place.

Conventional teller services are available in the shop area where customers
can do transactions without making an appointment, collect a new card or open
an account, for example. Service advisors working in the shop area also advise
customers on using web-based self-service channels.

- We are moving towards a more personal service. In one visit, the customer
can conduct all of his banking, insurance and real property transactions and,
at will, receive support, for example, in adopting and using new mobile
services, says Taponen.

Expanding branch network

Helsinki OP Bank will strengthen its branch network by opening a new branch in
Espoonlahti late in the autumn.

- Although much banking is currently conducted electronically, there is still
demand for branch banking. We are confident that our customers want to have
access to personal, expert and local service in our branches, Taponen sums up.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Katja Taponen, Area Manager, tel. 010 255 6864
Salme Pättö, Branch Manager, tel. 010 255 9426

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Source: Pohjola Pankki Oyj via Thomson Reuters ONE
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