Celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, Savings Banks Group is Finland’s oldest bank group, and service has always been its mission. European savings banks first appeared during the Industrial Revolution. Their purpose was to give laborers a place to save, and to encourage thrift through social education. As counterparts to merchant banks, savings banks collected small deposits and provided loans for home buyers and fledgling businesses. Skip ahead through two World Wars, decades of economic turmoil and an evolving regulatory landscape, and today’s Savings Banks Group offers a diverse portfolio of personalized services to more than 450,000 customers through 120 branches across Finland.

But tomorrow is another day, and Savings Banks Group needs to modernize both the customer-facing and back-office aspects of its business. And as with any business, Savings Banks Group cannot simply press “pause” while it undergoes its digital transformation. Business continuity – especially the seamless delivery of the outstanding customer service that Savings Banks Group has provided for 200 years – will be critical.

Kyndryl will support Savings Banks Group’s digital bank journey through Samlink – its recently acquired solutions developer and services provider to the banking industry. Over the next seven years, Kyndryl/Samlink and Savings Banks Group will collaborate to prepare the bank for its next era of innovation. To provide customers with new digital and personal services, the team is simplifying Savings Banks Group’s IT architecture. In a market beset with shortages of skilled developers, an updated IT system will better align Savings Banks Group with an available and growing talent pool, which in turn will enable joint development of innovative services – all against the backdrop of Savings Banks Group’s legendary customer engagement.

Next, the team will reinvigorate Savings Banks Group’s ability to adapt quickly to evolving market conditions, and to compete effectively with a growing fintech sector that may not offer the personalized services of a bank that is an integral part of the fabric of its community.

Finally, Kyndryl/Samlink and Savings Banks Group will work together to lay an IT foundation that supports the bank’s strategic business goals in addition to its technical needs. Finland and the other Nordic countries already offer some of the most comprehensive and innovative services in the global banking industry. To continue to set that curve for the next 30 years and beyond, the collaboration of these two people-and-customer-focused companies will help bring the best the world has to offer to their customers – wherever they consume their banking services.