Hostility doesn’t always mean that you get pushed around and attacked physically. Hostility can appear near-invisibly as well without laying a finger on you. Social exclusion is a form of aggression that can be fueled by denying you basic rights like opening a bank account, getting life insurance or a mobile phone line.
Nordea is the largest bank in the Nordic region. Making it possible? For whom?
Apart from two-year residence and even Finnish-language proficiency requirements to get a mobile phone line or life insurance in Finland respectively, the banking sector makes it especially hard for some immigrants to open bank accounts.
Those some immigrants include stateless refugees as well as EU citizens.
@Nathl tweets us the following:
Some bank branch offices may accept you as a client but getting online banking services is a totally different matter.
Some banks employees told one Somali refugee was told that he’d have to become a Finnish citizen before he could get online banking services.
Living in a developed country like Finland without online services is like being sentenced to a bygone time that few if any want to return to twenty years ago. You visit the bank, stand in line, and for a fee ask the teller to pay your bills.
How can any member of society live without a bank account? How can he or she get paid assistance from Kela, the state-owned social security institution? How can you get employment if your employer cannot pay your salary to a bank?
Migrant Tales understands that Finland’s banking laws have hampered as well some Russian companies from establishing businesses in this country.
The banks that refuse immigrants the right to open an account would care less for their welfare and that of the county’s since new businesses could generate growth, tax revenues and jobs.
One of the arguments used by Finnish banks to refuse an immigrant is valid identification. If the travel document reads, “his/her identity cannot be confirmed,” then that person is in trouble and cannot open an account in some banks or branch offices.
That’s right. I wrote in some branch offices. There is no standard rule and it’s totally left to the discretion of the bank branch office whether they’ll allow you to become their client.
The way some stateless refugees get around this problem is by getting a driver’s license, which is considered a valid ID by some banks and branch offices. An identification card issued by the police is not considered a valid ID.
Money laundering concerns is one of the main reasons why banks refuse to open accounts for some immigrants.
I wonder how many of these stateless persons have enough money to launder? Some quote refugees that come here may come from refugee camps and are poor. They have not only lost their homes in their former homelands, but family members as well.
Mark wrote an excellent piece Saturday showing what a country like the United Kingdom, with many more immigrants than Finland, does about being vigilant about money laundering.
He writes: “I’m sure there should be similar guidance available to Finnish banking institutions from a relevant central government agency dealing with money laundering? If not, then why not? Financial exclusion is not a priority or issue for the Finnish government?The reason why little if nothing has changed on relaxing rules that permit immigrants and stateless persons from opening a bank account – never mind getting access to online banking services – is because banks are not interested.”
Certainly if one spoke to Finland’s major banks like Nordea, OP and Danske bank, they would agree that immigrants that move to this country should learn either of our two official languages and adapt.
The fact that Finnish banks have the power to decided on a one-to-one basis who they’ll accept as a client reveals how our integration program works for some on a small-scale. We want people to adapt to our country but the reception they get is in some cases hostile. You are reinforced as “them” and are socially excluded.
A recent story on Länsi-Savo, a Mikkeli-based daily, revealed that rules for opening a bank account in this city have tightened. Even if this is the case, it doesn’t mean that such rules have tightened in other cities like Kouvola or Tampere.
A Mikkeli city official who works with refugees said that the municipality cannot accept any more refugees because they cannot open a bank account.
“How can we accept such [quota] refugees to Mikkeli if we can’t pay them support because they don’t have a bank account?” the official said.
- Bank accounts for the stateless – money laundering legislation is not an excuse for financial exclusion
- href=”http://www.migranttales.net/dna-saunalahti-if-nordea-backward-looking-rules-and-laws-mirror-finlands-anti-foreign-sentiment/”>DNA, Saunalahti, IF, Nordea: “Backward-looking” rules and laws mirror Finland’s anti-foreign sentiment
- The National Discrimination Tribunal of Finland fines Nordea for discrimination
- Ombudsman for Minorities responds to Migrant Tales’ queries concerning phone operators and insurance companies
- Some Finnish banks require Somalis to be Finnish citizens to have access to online banking