FIN-FSA issues a public warning to Helsinki Area Cooperative Bank for misleading marketing
The Financial Supervisory Authority has issued to Helsinki Area Cooperative Bank a public warning, as referred to in Section 39 of the Act on Financial Supervision (878/2008), for acting contrary to Chapter 15, Section 2, Subsection 2 of the Act on Credit Institutions (610/2014) and Section 2, Subsection 1 of the Consumer Protection Act (38/1978). Helsinki Area Cooperative Bank (formerly Helsinki OP Bank Ltd and Helsinki OP Bank Plc) has marketed “Customer-owner Deposit Accounts”, contrary to the above provisions.
In September 2015, the Bank advertised “Customer-owner Deposit Accounts” carrying an interest rate of 3.25%. In its marketing, the Bank did not describe in a sufficiently balanced way that a prerequisite for the payment of the higher interest rate on a deposit was the investment of the deposited funds in the Bank’s higher-risk profit shares when the deposit matures. FIN-FSA considers that the Bank’s actions in its marketing have been, in this respect, misleading and contrary to good practice. Moreover, the claim contained in the main message of the newspaper advertisement that the funds are “in safe place” should, considering the matter as a whole, be regarded as misleading.
FIN-FSA’s decision applies to marketing of the deposit. It does not take a position on how the Bank has otherwise acted in offering profit shares.
This decision on a public warning is not yet legally binding. The Bank has the right to appeal the decision of 7 June 2016 to the Market Court within 30 days of the Bank’s receipt of notice of the said decision.
For further information, please contact
Sonja Lohse, Head of Director General's Staff, Chief Advisor, tel. +358 10 831 5311
FIN-FSA decision (pdf, in Finnish)