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OP Pohjola – Acquirer Strategy

OP-Pohjola Group, the leading financial services group in Finland, use Savantor’s industry expertise to guide their strategic positioning within a changing acquiring mark

The Scandinavian acquiring market has been undergoing significant change as domestic processors evolve and international players seek increased market share.

Finland is a prime example and OP-Pohjola Group was amongst the first to recognise and respond to this situation.

In common with other banks, change and complexity on this scale is an infrequent event and Nordea did not have sufficient relevant experience in-house.

With the market moving from domestic debit cards to SEPA-compliant scheme branded cards, and acquiring previously being centrally processed, OP-Pohjola decided to investigate the alternatives for taking a more active role in acquiring.

Savantor’s team undertook the following:

  • Reviewed the bank’s current acquirer strategy and gained a better understanding of overall progress, strength and weakness.
  • Advised the bank on the European market dynamics, the future business opportunities and the overall economics of the acquiring business.
  • Guided the development of an acquirer value chain that focused the proposed acquiring services in line with the group’s co-operative structure.
  • Constructed an initial operating model to support the acquirer strategy.
  • Positioned the bank to adopt an acquirer strategy appropriate to their market.

Rod Nixon, Managing Director of Savantor International, believes that our independent advice has enabled the bank to move forward confidently to realise their strategy.

"Many banks are facing similar dilemmas as the European acquiring market evolves. It was the right time for OP-Pohjola to take this major step forward in their future market positioning."

Features of this assignment:

  • European acquiring market education and strategic guidance for addressing local and cross-border evolution.
  • Strategic positioning to profitably secure and grow acquiring footprint following the demise of the local debit card scheme.
  • Acquirer operational model and best practices.
  • Acquirer solution sourcing options and viable market approaches.
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Client Quotes

Commercial Card Migration

"Execution at its best. We're delighted that this project has been truly outstanding and received an award from 'The Banker'. Savantor provided crucial expertise that helped us keep all our promises in terms of delivery. The scheduling, planning and control regime throughout was excellent."

Chris Mason, Director - Commercial Cards EMEA - Citi - UK

Acquirer Risk Assessment

"The expertise provided by Savantor has greatly helped us evaluate our risk position and to take the right steps in managing our future risks. Strong, disciplined planning and an ongoing willingness to work closely with our staff played an enormous part in making this a very successful well-delivered project which will greatly help us in achieving our business goals."

Mark Healy, Chief Risk Officer - NEOVIA Financial - UK

Acquirer Strategy and Operating Model

"Savantor brought an effective blend of European acquirer market expertise and transaction processing solution design. Their experts quickly forged strong working relationships with our team. We enjoyed working with them to create our future acquirer strategy."

Mikko Hyttinen, SVP - Lending Services - OP-Pohjola Group - Finland

Market Insights

"Savantor did a good job in helping us understand the dynamics of a key growth area for Trionis. Savantor's ability to listen and their degree of commitment have always impressed me. They have been of great help in providing us important market insights and I would not hesitate to work with them again in future."

Ernst Verbeek, Managing Director - Trionis - Belgium

EMV Migration Planning

"It was a strategic imperative for the bank to be EMV compliant for our payment cards and the experience that Savantor brought to the company has proved to be invaluable."

Eddie Sweeney, Chief Technology Officer - AIB Bank - Ireland

Credit Card Migration and Operational Support

"The bank has undergone significant transformation of its card business on both the issuing and acquiring sides. One business partner we have looked to for support in the areas of strategy, major project leadership, management analysis and ongoing business support is Savantor. The Savantor team has contributed to our success as we have leveraged their deep industry knowledge and broad range of operational skills."

Sean Sheehan, Service Management Director - Bank of Ireland

Credit Risk Review for New Product Launch

"We needed expert help at short notice and Savantor were very impressive in their response and knowledge. The results were very clear and useful, enabling us to quickly make good progress on the next steps."

Sami Karhunen, Head of Business Intelligence and SME Sales - Point Transaction Systems Oy - Finland

Platform Selection & RFP Management

"OP-Pohjola Group has used Savantor in both acquiring and issuing for platform/service provider research, RFI/RFP processes and subsequent contract negotiations. Savantor's approach and commitment have always been very professional and transparent. They have been of great help for the company in providing us important insights and background information beyond vendors sales speeches."

Kai Lindstrom, Head of Acquiring - OP-Services Ltd - Finland

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