Social responsibility

The responsible approach taken by the Savings Banks Group is evident in all aspects of its activities. Social, financial and environmental responsibility are part of the Group’s business and day-to-day work. Social responsibility has been part of the Savings Banks Group’s operations since 1822. 

Three perspectives to responsibility at Savings Bank:

  1. We pay all of our taxes directly to Finland. We do not participate in controversial tax planning practices.
  2. For almost 200 years, we have directed a proportion of our profits to enhancing welfare within our operating areas.
  3. We are 100% Finnish, as evidenced by the Key Flag Symbol awarded by the Association for Finnish Work. 

Social responsibility has been part of the operations of Savings Banks ever since the first Savings Bank was established in Finland in 1822. In line with the Savings Bank ideal, our basic mission has been to help Finns to prosper and take better care of their finances.

Today, our responsibility is visible in all our operations, as well as in the attitude we have adopted towards our customers, partners, operating areas, authorities, the environment and other stakeholder groups.

We adhere to the principles of good corporate governance, openness and the Group’s ethical rules.

When the Savings Banks were first established in 1822, one of the goals was to teach frugality to Finns. In addition to the prosperity of our customers, developing the welfare of the community has always been important to us. The welfare of the entire community is part of the savings bank ideal. This objective is also included in the Savings Bank Act, according to which Savings Banks can use part of their profits to “promote frugality or other non-profit purposes”.

Savings Banks do not operate on the principle of seeking fast, short-term profits or with a view to exploiting their customers’ circumstances. Instead, we base our operation on our efforts to promote our customers’ personal wealth accumulation and smart financial management. When our customers prosper and their welfare increases, we prosper along with them.

Social Responsibility

For the Savings Banks Group, social responsibility is primarily a local consideration. Since the beginning, for almost 200 years, we have directed a proportion of our profits to enhancing welfare within our operating areas. It is important to us that towns, villages and communities in Finland retain their vitality and positive development trends.

 Through the decades, the profits of Savings Banks have supported families with children, made daily life easier for the elderly, promoted recreational activities among children and young people, and helped those who suffer from social exclusion or other types of distress. Small gestures of goodwill have grown into a large and powerful stream.

 In 2017, Savings Banks belonging to the Savings Banks Group supported child and youth services, disabled war veterans, the elderly, junior sports and recreational associations by nearly EUR 750,000. The total number of beneficiaries was well over a hundred.

 We choose the beneficiary associations together with our customers. We have also surveyed Finns on how to best promote the welfare of local residents in their areas and who needs support the most. In 2016, our survey For a Better Finland gave respondents the opportunity to suggest a specific beneficiary.

The Savings Banks Research Foundation awards grants each year to university researchers and research projects. In addition, savings bank trusts owning limited liability-format Savings Banks have made significant contributions in various parts of the country. They distribute considerable sums to non-profit purposes.

Personnel

In the Savings Banks Group, each employee is perceived as an expert in his or her work, which is why we invest in the continuous development of employee competencies. The development of competencies is further supported by, for example, the Savings Banks Group’s internal Academy. The Academy builds learning paths and related training modules for various roles.

Financial Responsibility

Financial responsibility refers to good profitability, capital adequacy and liquidity, good governance and responsible leadership.

We want to ensure that our customers and partners are able to rely on our judgment and sense of responsibility in all circumstances. To maintain financial responsibility, we must ensure our capital adequacy and liquidity even in poor economic conditions. 

A particular feature of Savings Banks is that we take responsibility for promoting saving and financial well-being among the local population. For example, we only provide our customers with loans and credit that they can manage without straining their finances. 

The Group also takes a responsible attitude towards Finnish tax revenue. We pay all of our taxes directly to Finland, and we do not participate in controversial tax planning practices. In 2016, for example, we paid EUR 13.2 million in income taxes. 

The Savings Banks Group employs some 1,400 financial and service professionals around Finland. We are also an active and responsible participant in the committees of the Federation of Finnish Financial Services, playing a part in the development of the Finnish banking industry. 

Legal compliance is essential for the corporations belonging to the Amalgamation of Savings Banks. We comply with all relevant laws and regulations in the jurisdictions we operate in. More information: 

Responsible investing

Responsibility is a factor in all our operations. The responsibility of Savings Bank investment operations is managed by Sp-Fund Management Company, which is owned by Savings Banks. The duty of the company is to manage the funds of our customers and strive to make a good long-term profit. Our investment decisions are always made taking into account environmental matters, social responsibility and good governance, i.e. the ESG factors. 

We believe that taking ESG factors into account helps to manage the risks related to investment targets and identify opportunities. We also want to contribute to the shift towards more sustainability in business and in society as a whole. Sp-Fund Management Company signed the UN Principles for Responsible Investment in 2014 and is a member of Finland’s Sustainable Investment Forum (Finsif).

Environmental responsibility

As a responsible Finnish banking group, we recognise our role in promoting environmental responsibility. For example, our business travel and meetings are regularly replaced with telephone and video conferencing. We strive to reduce unnecessary paper use, and we choose ecological alternatives when making purchases.

Key Flag

The Savings Banks Group is 100% Finnish. This is evidenced by the Key Flag Symbol awarded by the Association for Finnish Work.