In the #SijoitaSuomeen (Invest in Finland) initiative, OP stopped charging transaction costs related to Finnish equities listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki and provided free access to equity research information during the initiative. The initiative ended in March 2016 and brought plenty of new shareholders to listed Finnish companies, increased trading activity considerably on the Nasdaq Helsinki and increased interest in professionally produced investor information.
In March, OP signed an agreement with the European Investment Fund (EIF) for financing worth EUR 150 million to spur SME innovations and growth. SMEs have shown great interest in such financing and dozens of firms have already made use of it. In October, OP filed an application for the role of a financial intermediary related to the joint SME initiative of the Finnish government, the EIB Group and the European Commission. This agreement was signed in January 2017 and it enables OP to provide financing also worth EUR 150 million to SMEs employing less than 250 people.
Mobile banking became the most popular banking channel as the number of transactions in OP-mobile beat the number of transactions in op.fi for the first time in March. On average, OP-mobile had 11.4 million visits per month in 2016, while op.fi had 10 million visits.
By launching contactless payment with Pivo, OP was the first bank in Finland to enable contactless mobile payment. OP also introduced two services for corporate customers, Pivo Cashier and OP Business mobile, as well as Pivo Junior designed for children and young people.
In April, OP announced the #Perheenlisä (Addition to the family) initiative which provides families with a baby with products and services to ease the daily life of a new family, including free-of-charge insurance and a loan repayment holiday.
In June, the Supervisory Board of OP Financial Group's central cooperative confirmed OP Financial Group's strategy and Group-level strategic goals. OP aims to gradually change from a plain financial services provider to a diversified services company of the digital era with strong financial services expertise. The strategy highlights customer experience enhancement by digitising services and processes.
In late 2015, OP announced its intention to exclude high-carbon companies from active investments. As a result of its analysis of high-carbon companies completed in July 2016, OP excluded 60 companies from its investee companies. This means that active, direct investments in OP's mutual funds may no longer include equities or fixed-income instruments of such companies.
OP Financial Group opened its second hospital unit, in Tampere. At the opening, Omasairaala Oy was renamed Pohjola Health Ltd. During 2017–2018, new Pohjola Hospitals will be opened in Oulu, Turku and Kuopio.
On 28 September 2016, OP Cooperative's Supervisory Board decided on OP Financial Group's withdrawal from the Federation of Finnish Financial Services (FFS) activities. OP became member of Service Sector Employees Palta on 1 January 2017. OP also enhances its in-house regulatory and public affairs expertise.
OP wants to contribute to securing Finland's long-term prosperity by participating in the funding campaign for universities with a donation package worth the record-high amount of 6.3 million euros. The total amount consists of donations from OP cooperative banks and the Group’s central cooperative.
OP sped up its journey from a plain financial services provider towards becoming a diversified service provider by launching OP Kulku, OP’s first step in Mobility Services. OP Kulku lowers the threshold to use electric cars by providing consumers and small firms in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area with the opportunity to use an electric car with a monthly fee, without having to worry about ownership matters, putting in a major initial investment or value reduction of the vehicle.
OP is continuing the series of its #Suominousuun initiatives through a major volunteering project in honour of the centenary of Finland's independence. OP’s gift to the 100-year-old Finland is 100 person-years of volunteering. All 12,000 OP employees may do voluntary work for one day during their working hours. OP is inviting people to be involved in voluntary activities on a wide front. Hiiop100.fi, a new volunteer work exchange site launched by OP in January 2017, brings together those in need of help and volunteers.