Press release 6 July 2023

It is important for banks to ensure the availability of personal customer service and reasonably priced basic banking services

The right of customers to obtain basic banking services as set out in law is mainly fulfilled well in Finland. The Financial Supervisory Authority (FIN-FSA) considers that, last year, basic banking services were readily available and, for the most part, reasonably priced, but the service offering is focused on banks’ digital services. While digital services are the main channel for the majority of customers in managing their daily banking matters, banks also need to safeguard the availability of personal customer service and the opportunity for customers who do not use digital services to access reasonably priced services.

Personal service needed alongside digital services 

The number of bank branches continued to fall during 2022. In addition, access to personal service is adversely affected by reduced branch service hours and appointment booking practices. Bank customers and stakeholders have increasingly submitted critical feedback to supervisory authorities on the availability of banks’ customer service and long waiting times.

“Despite the popularity of digital services, receiving personal customer service within a reasonable time is still important for customers. The FIN-FSA therefore urges banks to pay attention to the accessibility of customer service in all of their service channels,” says Tero Kurenmaa, Director General of the FIN-FSA. 

With the exception of changes in the availability of branch services, there were no significant changes in alternative services to digital services during 2022. In digital services, banks have implemented various measures to improve accessibility to services in the last few years. Banks also provide diverse digital support to their customers, mostly free of charge. Through these measures, banks are giving a wider range of customers the opportunity to access digital services, independent of service hours and at lower prices. 

Increase in prices of basic banking services and significant differences between banks        

Prices for basic banking services were on the rise in 2022. The price increases were bank-specific, however, and there are significant and larger differences in prices than before between banks.

“For customers’ right to basic banking services to be fulfilled as required by law, the services must be available to all customer groups, but at the same time the fees charged for these services must be at a reasonable level. In our view, the highest prices give banks cause to reassess the rationale and reasonableness of their pricing,” says Kurenmaa.      

Need to reform legislation on basic banking services to be reviewed 

The Ministry of Finance has launched a review of the need for changes to the regulation of basic banking services as part of a wider assessment of the need to reform the Act on Credit Institutions. In connection with the review, stakeholders have the opportunity to present their views on the provision and pricing of basic banking services and the need for regulatory changes. 

The FIN-FSA welcomes the assessment of the need for changes in the regulation of basic banking services. It is important to examine the current state of legislation and the need for changes, particularly from the perspective of ensuring through regulation the provision of affordable basic banking services throughout the country, also in situations where market-based service provision is not sufficient to meet customers’ needs. 

Retail customers have a legal right to basic banking services provided by deposit banks. These services include a payment account, a means by which the account can be accessed (such as a debit card), an online banking service and a means of strong electronic identification.

Once a year, the FIN-FSA conducts a survey of the availability and pricing of basic banking services, as specified in the Act of Credit Institutions. The survey data for 2022 are mainly based on information on bank service prices and bank branches obtained from the consumer payment account comparison website (, Bank of Finland statistics, feedback from customers and stakeholders, and a questionnaire given to banks in connection with the survey.

See also

Survey of availability and pricing of basic banking services 2022

For further information, please contact:

Samu Kurri, Head of Division

Requests for interviews are coordinated by FIN-FSA Communications, tel. +358 9 183 5030, weekdays 9.00–16.00.