Since the start in Finland in 1999, TF Bank has slowly strengthened its position in the market. At the end of the second quarter 2020, the loan portfolio amounted to EUR 124 million, roughly 25 percent of TF Bank’s total portfolio in the Consumer Lending segment. Since 2012, the bank is also offering savings accounts with an attractive interest rate. Juho Maanpää, Country Manager Finland, shares his view on the business.
“Since the start, we have grown slowly but steadily. Our customers are mostly middle aged and apply for a loan when they need to make a larger purchase, like a renovation. That’s why the average loan amount is slightly higher than in TF Bank’s other markets. When the customers have been granted a loan, they in general want to amortise at a high pace. On the savings side, we have many customers that have been with us for many years, and they appreciate our simple and customer-centric product.”
In connection with the Covid-19 outbreak, the market has experienced a slight downturn, but Juho only sees a small impact in the short term.
“We have seen how some competitors have grown fast in a short amount of time. We work in a different way, focusing on stable and long-term growth. This has turned out to be a key to success also in the current crisis. We have a good dialogue with our customers, and in some cases, we have temporarily removed the amortisation requirement. This is since we know our customers and their payment abilities well. For new lending, we saw an initial downturn when the pandemic started, but during the end of the second quarter it actually recovered.”
As for the rest of the Nordic countries, the Finnish market for private loans has experienced a digital transformation over the past years.
“Online is the dominating channel. We are digital at our core, it is part of our DNA, and this has also been an advantage during the pandemic. The customers are used to managing their finances online, and we have ourselves been able to work remotely. This has worked really well thanks to our established processes.”
Open banking is another important development that is impacting the Finnish market, driven by the EU-wide PSD2 directive. It means that customers can grant third-party providers access to their payment accounts at their retail banks.
“We believe this is a great step forward and are actively working to implement open banking tools, which allow us to improve the user experience when onboarding new customers. It really shows the strength in digitalisation and how it makes the everyday life for the customers easier.”
TF Bank has an office in downtown Helsinki, which provides several upsides according to Juho.
“It is an advantage to have a local presence, not only from a customer perspective. It also makes it easier to have a close dialogue with government bodies and quickly adapt to new directives.”