In 2016, OP continued its good financial performance by recording all-time-high earnings before tax as business grew at a rate above the market average. Our huge transformation process that we started remains, however, uppermost in my mind when it comes to the bygone year. Why should a successful company reinvent itself?
In early 2016, we completed one of OP’s most extensive operating environment analysis ever carried out. Its message cannot be ignored. The financial sector is faced with the most drastic change in its history.
We will respond to the change through our strategy adopted in summer 2016. We want to lead it at the forefront and reinvent ourselves with customer experience being our priority.
As a company owned by customers, we want to be a trusted partner in the daily lives of our customers. We are branching out into businesses where we have had some presence previously through financial products, such as mobility, housing, and health and wellbeing.
A journey towards diversification is a long and multi-stage process, which does not happen overnight as it should not either. Traditional banking and insurance services will remain our business cornerstone well into the future.
OP will reinvent itself led by customer interests in a way that takes both the present and future customer generations into consideration.
Business reinvention takes tangible form when we invest in new technology, products, services and competencies. When we published our strategy, we announced our investment programme worth some 2 billion euros for the next five years. In addition to blazing a new trail for our business, we will further develop our existing one and digital capabilities. Ensuring our price competitiveness and operational agility will require efforts to improve our operational efficiency. The wide variety of jobs and skill requirements will diversify at OP.
Alongside our business development, we have implemented our mission through our social role too. We have continued the series of campaigns under our #Suominousuun initiative by, for example, donating over 6 million euros to universities.
As a gift to Finland celebrating 100 years of independence, we are making a volunteering contribution biggest ever made in our country. All of the over 12,000 OP employees throughout Finland may spend one working day doing volunteer work for a cause of their choice, and we have also encouraged our administrative staff, owner-customers and stakeholder groups to take on this challenge. Our volunteer work exchange site open to anyone can be found at www.hiiop100.fi.
Expectations of our stakeholder groups have increased higher than ever following the new strategy, good financial performance and actions performed in our social role. Positive energy created through our value-based reinvention has spread from our employees to our administration and customers.
In 2016, OP received almost 260,000 new owner-customers. With customer experience showing favourable development, OP cooperative banks across Finland work to be present in the daily lives of owner-customers, not only physically, but also digitally.
We aim to meet the expectations set for us in both the business and social role and to represent a positive driver all over Finland.
Finland has been stuck in stagnation that has continued for a decade now. What if Finland updated its strategy with the same determination as OP?
The year 2017 has begun with a brighter economic outlook. The centenary of Finland’s independence has every chance of becoming a landmark year in our country’s history. Now is the time to let boldness spread through the entire society.
While reinvention creates investments and new jobs, investments bring competitiveness. Finland can become a bigger actor in the digitising world economy than what its size suggests, but that will require drastic reforms and measures to build on our strengths.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks to OP’s owner-customers, customers and partners as well as administrative staff and personnel for the successful year. OP’s success will continue to be linked to the success of the Finnish people. We encourage everyone to go through the digital transformation with their head held high and we promise to do our share on this journey.