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Finland’s S-Pankki Fuels Expansion With Tapiola Bank Takeover

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June 6 (Bloomberg) -- S-Pankki Oy, Finland’s third-biggest bank by customers, has agreed to buy Tapiola Bank Oy giving it access to mortgage and insurance products and speeding up its expansion drive.

The new bank will start operations next year, and S-Group will own 75 percent of shares, with LaehiTapiola Group holding the remaining 25 percent, Helsinki-based S-Pankki said in a statement on its website today. The two banks didn’t disclose the price of the transaction.

The new bank’s combined customer numbers will match cooperative OP-Pohjola Group as Finland’s biggest. S-Pankki, which is owned by the S-Group cooperative and counts half of all Finns as customers, last week acquired asset manager FIM Group Oyj to offer its customers access to investment funds. The group plans to operate FIM and Tapiola investment funds under subsidiary FIM Asset Management Oy.

S-Pankki is a former savings association, which began accepting deposits as a bank in 2007 and now has about 2.5 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in deposits and 2.6 million customers. Tapiola Bank has 1.6 million customers.

The cooperative OP-Pohjola Group is Finland’s biggest bank with its 4.2 million customers, while Nordea Bank AB, the Nordic region’s biggest bank, has 3.2 million clients in the country. LaehiTapiola, Finland’s biggest property and casualty insurer, is a cooperative group based in Espoo, near the capital. In the deal, LaehiTapiola keeps its own asset management operations.

The new bank will require a new banking license and the transaction is conditional on approval by Finland’s financial supervisor and the competition watchdog.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kati Pohjanpalo in Helsinki at kpohjanpalo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tasneem Brogger at tbrogger@bloomberg.net

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