Pertunmaa is a small town of 1,800 inhabitants 18km off Highway 5 that takes you to Mikkeli. The owner of Pertunmaan Pizzeria, which opened its doors this month, has had trouble opening a bank account for his business at the only bank of the town.
According to the owner, Rasoul Khorram, who has lived in Finland for six years and is a naturalized Finn, was told by the Osuuspankki savings bank manager Jouko Isokuortti turned him down when he wanted to open a bank account.
“He [Isokuortti] said that I couldn’t open a bank account at his bank because I was a customer of Nordea [bank],” he told Migrant Tales. “He said I didn’t speak Finnish well enough and should take more classes [to learn the language better].”
Khorram protested and said that it wouldn’t be practical to open a bank account at the nearest Nordea branch office which is Mikkeli located 57 kilometers away.
“When I told him that I’d like to get in touch with his manager, he ordered me to leave the premises,” he said.
Considering that Khorram is a Finnish citizen, it’s pretty clear that the Osuuspankki manager’s decision to not let him open an account is arbitrary and discriminatory.
While the interview for this story was made in Finnish with Khorram, the fact that he is a naturalized Finn should be sufficient proof that he can speak the Finnish language.
Pitäjänuutiset, the local newspaper that is read in Pertunmaa and Mäntyharju, wrote a story on the problem.
Migrant Tales has written a number of stories about the problems that stateless persons and asylum seekers have in opening bank accounts in Finland.
Not only do banks exclude foreigners from using their services but some insurance companies and phone operators do so as well.