The Finland Society’s Information Services have received many queries from expatriate Finns about banking. Many expatriates feel that the basic banking service obligation in its present form puts Finnish citizens on an unequal footing, as banking services are determined by place of residence.
Many expatriate Finns, regardless of whether they live inside or outside the EU/ETA, need a Finnish bank account in order to take care of issues related to their summer house or other real estate matters (such as taxes and bills) as well as to receive rental income, for instance. Many expatriates considering a return to Finland feel that the difficulties in opening a bank account make it harder to invest in Finland and that they decrease Finland’s appeal.
During 2021, many people living outside the EU/ETA have received letters from their Finnish banks about their accounts being closed. Those living in EU countries have had difficulties with electronic transactions when confirmation messages have not arrived via their local phone connection. Finnish pensioners in Sweden have had difficulties handling banking matters remotely. They have had complications especially in closing their accounts. Finnish banking services for expatriates were brought up also at the 10th session of the Finland Society’s Finnish Expatriate Parliament in June 2021.
The Finland Society’s Information Services investigated what kind of basic services banks operating in Finland offer expatriates at the moment. Banks are private actors and are therefore allowed to decide on their policies. The services available depend on each bank. The Finland Society contacted four banks whose responses are included in the survey. It was carried out in August-September 2021 based on information acquired from the Finnish Financial Ombudsman Bureau, the Financial Supervisory Authority and individual banks, from their websites and through email.