OP Financial Group's Financial Statements Bulletin for 1 January-31 December 2016: Embracing industry transformation from a solid foundation

OP Financial Group
Stock Exchange Release 2 February 2017 09.00 am EET
Financial Statements Bulletin

OP Financial Group's Financial Statements Bulletin for 1 January-31 December 2016: Embracing industry transformation from a solid foundation

OP Financial Group improved its earnings further, above-the-market average growth continued on a wide front          

  • Earnings before tax totalled EUR 1,138 million (1,101).
  • Earnings before tax in October-December were EUR 218 million (175). 
  • Net interest income increased by 3% and net insurance income by 6% and total income grew by 3% on a year earlier. Expenses rose by 3%. The rise was entirely explained by higher development costs.
  • The CET1 ratio increased by 0.6 percentage points year on year to 20.1%. Based on the results of the stress test conducted by the European Banking Authority, the Group's capital adequacy clearly exceeded regulatory requirements also in an operating environment of an extremely adverse scenario.
  • The home loan portfolio increased by 4%, the corporate loan portfolio by 3% and deposits by 6%. New home loans drawn down were 8% and corporate loans 10% higher than a year ago.  
  • Insurance premium revenue increased by 2%.
  • Assets managed by Wealth Management increased by 9% over the previous year. 
  • Full-year earnings for 2017 are expected to be about the same as or lower than in 2016 due to increasing development costs and other expenses arising from strategy implementation. 

Almost 160,000 new OP Financial Group banking customers and 260,000 new owner-customers  

  • OP Financial Group received almost 160,000 new banking customers, or 21% more than a year ago. The number of owner-customers increased by almost 260,000 to over 1.7 million. The number of joint banking and non-life insurance customers increased by almost 100,000 to over 1.7 million.
  • New OP bonuses totalled over EUR 200 million, up by almost 5% year on year. The estimated interest payable on Profit Shares totals EUR 83 million.
  • The Group launched several #Suominousuun (Putting Finland on a new growth path) initiatives in its social role. During the financial year, the Group announced, for example, donations worth over EUR 6 million to Finnish universities.
  • OP Financial Group's gift to the 100-year-old Finland is 100 years of volunteering. Hiiop100.fi, a new volunteer work exchange site, brings together those in need of help and volunteers.
  • In June, OP Financial Group confirmed an updated strategy aimed at broad-based renewal which is being implemented on a wide front.

OP Financial Group's key indicators

  Q1-4/2016 Q1-4/2015 Change, %
Earnings before tax, EUR million1,1381,1013.3
  Non-life Insurance230259-11.1
  Wealth Management2322138.8
New OP bonuses accrued to owner-customers2081975.3
  31 Dec. 2016 31 Dec. 2015 Change, %
CET1 ratio, %*
Return on economic capital, % **22.721.51.2*
Ratio of capital base to minimum amount of capital base (under the Act on the Supervision of Financial and Insurance Conglomerates), % ***170  


Ratio of impairment loss on receivables to loan and guarantee portfolio, %*
Owner-customers (1,000)1,7471.49117.2

Comparatives deriving from the income statement are based on figures reported for the corresponding period in 2015. Unless otherwise specified, balance sheet and other cross-sectional figures on 31 December 2015 are used as comparatives.
* Change in ratio
** 12-month rolling, change in percentage
*** The FiCo ratio has been calculated under Solvency II transitional provisions and the comparatives have been adjusted.

Comments by Reijo Karhinen, President and Group Executive Chairman

Even a strong one must reform itself. The year 2016 for OP Financial Group was a combination of business success on a wide front and the launch of strategy implementation aimed at broad-based renewal. The determined steps we have taken for several years now amid the operating environment characterised by various challenges culminated in all-time high earnings, excellent capital adequacy and an above-market-average growth rate on a broad basis. In addition, favourable developments in customer satisfaction and the number of our customers that has grown faster than ever before strengthen, for their part, the basis on which we will build the reforming OP. 

We are living in a world with more demanding customers with a more powerful voice. The situation is made for OP. Our committed owner-customers are one of the strengths why OP is successful. Managing our social role shows more clearly in our daily activities. Enabled by our good earnings performance, we have a real chance to promote the prosperity of our owner-customers and in our operating region during the major transformation too.

The strategy published in the summer means to us a huge transformation process from a plain financial services provider to a diversified services company. Our strategy will challenge us to nurture our present-day business, its product and service range and earnings power while we will increase our investments in development and create new business with an open mind to replace the one that will go away.

We will digitise our existing services and internal processes with a bold approach. Ensuring our price competitiveness and operational agility will continue to require efforts to significantly improve our operational efficiency. We will need to modernise our intellectual capital at a faster pace as our business models and their content undergo transformation and our journey towards a diversified company proceeds.

After several years of sluggishness, the Finnish economy and employment are showing an incipient recovery and economic sentiment indicators are improving. This is a right direction but the pace is too slow in view of the key challenges our nation is faced with: low employment rate and public finances. In different parts of society, reforms must be sped up and the vision must be brightened. We need a deeper, shared understanding of the extent and speed of change. Finland's digital potential is right at the top in the world, which is why the digital world economy transformation will provide Finland with huge opportunities for new growth and prosperity.

Financial performance in the report period  

OP Financial Group's earnings before tax were EUR 1,138 million (1,101), or the best ever recorded. The figure improved by EUR 37 million over the previous year.

Despite low interest rates, net interest income increased by 3.2% to EUR 1,058 million. Net insurance income improved by 6.0% to EUR 558 million. Net commissions and fees were EUR 859 million, or slightly higher than the year before. Fees from payment services and mutual funds and real estate agent commissions increased whereas securities brokerage and issuance fees declined over the previous year. Securities brokerage fees decreased by EUR 4 million as a result of the Sijoita Suomeen (Invest in Finland) opening included in the #Suominousuun (Putting Finland on a new growth path) initiative.

Net investment income decreased by 9.7% to EUR 390 million. Lower returns on equity instruments and impairment losses reduced net income from available-for-sale assets. Income from Life Insurance notes and bonds measured at fair value was increased by the individual life insurance portfolio transferred from Suomi Mutual to OP Financial Group at the end of 2015. Hedging interest rate risk associated with the insurance liability of Life Insurance added to income from derivatives. 

Other operating income rose by EUR 77 million year on year to EUR 122 million. This rise resulted from the non-recurring gain of EUR 76 million recognised on the sale of Visa Europe Ltd.

Total expenses increased by 3.1% to EUR 1,567 million. Personnel costs decreased by EUR 19 million over the previous year due to lower defined benefit pension costs. A year ago, personnel costs were increased by a non-recurring provision of EUR 9 million, related to the reorganisation of the central cooperative consolidated.

OP Financial Group's significant investments in service development increased development costs by EUR 60 million. Development costs totalled EUR 135 million (75). Other operating expenses a year ago included the non-recurring expenses totalling EUR 18 million related to the intra-Group ownership reorganisation and the reconstruction of the Vallila premises. 

Impairment losses recognised under various income statement items that reduced earnings amounted to EUR 136 million (114), of which EUR 77 million (78) concerned loans and receivables. Net impairment loss on loans and receivables were low, at 0.09% (0.10) of the loan and guarantee portfolio.

OP Financial Group's current tax amounted to EUR 223 million (249). The effective tax rate was 19.6% (22.6). A year ago, the tax rate was increased by capital gains tax on OP Financial Group's internal transactions.

OP Financial Group's equity capital increased by 9.8%, exceeding EUR 10 billion during the financial year. This was explained by the Group's earnings and owner-customers' Profit Shares. On 31 December 2016, EUR 2.7 billion (2.5) in Profit Shares were included in equity, terminated Profit Shares accounting for EUR 0.3 billion (0.3). The return target for Profit Shares for 2016 and 2017 is 3.25%. Interest payable on the Profit Shares accrued during the financial year is estimated to total EUR 83 million (66). The fair value reserve grew by EUR 77 million to EUR 318 million.  

Outlook for 2017

The Finnish economy recovered last year driven by consumer spending and construction in particular. Brexit, in particular, added uncertainty during 2016. The uncertainty remained, however, transient. Confidence indicators improved during the rest of the year. In Finland, consumer confidence in particular improved, which was helped by lower unemployment. The housing market picked up and home prices rose moderately. The world economy is expected to recover slightly, which together with pro-competitiveness measures should gradually support Finnish exports. The Finnish economy is expected to continue to grow at a relatively steady rate on a broader base than before. Political uncertainty in export markets and partly in Finland too will cast a shadow over the economic outlook.

Low market interest rates will erode banks' net interest income and weaken insurance institutions' investment income, but then again will support customers' repayment capacity. Impairment losses in the banking sector have been low despite the persistent slow economic growth. The financial sector's preparation for changing customer behaviour and challenges presented by digitisation will substantially increase the need for reinvention in the sector across the board. Industry disruption is threatening to erode income generation too in the years to come. Changes in the operating environment will emphasise the role of the management of operational efficiency, profitability and capital adequacy with a long-term approach.

OP Financial Group expects its full-year earnings for 2017 to be about the same as or lower than those for 2016 due to increasing development costs and other expenses arising from strategy implementation. Abnormally high uncertainty that is related to developments in the operating environment has further increased short-term earnings volatility, which will have an effect on the predictability of OP Financial Group's full-year earnings performance. The most significant uncertainties relate to changes in the interest rate and investment environment, impairment loss developments and the rate of business growth. 

All forward-looking statements in this Financial Statements Bulletin expressing the management's expectations, beliefs, estimates, forecasts, projections and assumptions are based on the current view on developments in the economy, and actual results may differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements.

Press conference

OP Financial Group's financial performance will be presented to the media by President and Group Executive Chairman Reijo Karhinen in a press conference on 2 February 2017 at 11 am at Gebhardinaukio 1, Vallila, Helsinki.

OP Corporate Bank plc will publish its own Financial Statements Bulletin.

Financial reporting in 2017

Schedule for Interim Reports in 2017:

Interim Report Q1/2017                             27 April 2017
Interim Report H1/2017                              2 August 2017
Interim Report Q1-Q3/2017                       1 November 2017

Helsinki, 2 November 2017

OP Cooperative
Executive Board

Additional information:
Reijo Karhinen, President and Group Executive Chairman, tel. +358 (0)10 252 4500
Harri Luhtala, CFO, tel. +358 (0)10 252 2433
Carina Geber-Teir, Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications, tel. +358 (0)10 252 8394

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OP Financial Group is Finland's largest financial services group whose mission is to create sustainable prosperity, security and wellbeing for its owner-customers and in its operating region by means of its strong capital base and efficiency. OP Financial Group consists of about 170 member cooperative banks, its central cooperative OP Cooperative, and the latter's subsidiaries and affiliates. The Group has a staff of 12,000 and approximately 1.7 million owner-customers and 4.3 million customers. www.op.fi

OP Financial Group background material for FY 2016
OP Financial Group Financial Statements Bulletin 2016

This announcement is distributed by NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions on behalf of NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions clients.

The issuer of this announcement warrants that they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the information contained therein.

Source: OP Yrityspankki Oyj via GlobeNewswire