In autumn 2017, new Nokas Nosto ATMs were installed in S-Group markets in the Helsinki metropolitan area. There were also planned installations in other major store chains. Everything seemed to be right on track, but then, totally unexpectedly, plans were derailed by the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority: it wanted to reassess the competitive situation in the cash withdrawal market.
The new competitor entering the market had upset Automatia Oy and the banks. They claimed that withdrawals from the Nokas ATMs generated higher expenses than withdrawals from the Otto ATMs. The Norwegian Nokas, however, had a good reason to expand to Finland.
“Finland makes more cash purchases than the other Nordic countries, but there aren’t very many ATMs. Having our own efficient network of ATMs enables us to better serve all of Finland, including people in rural areas,” says Risto Lepo, Head of Sales and Development at Nokas.
Nokas was surprised by the Financial Supervisory Authority involvement and the new request for comments that it presented. Due to this ambiguity about the future, the installation of cash machines at S-Group stores had to be suspended: had the millions of euros in investments been in vain?
Lexia jumped in to assist Nokas in finding a solution; it compiled an extensive statement in response to the request by the Financial Supervisory Authority, provided arguments for deregulation and defended Nokas’s operations. The Financial Supervisory Authority also heard from other actors, like the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority; ultimately, the knot started to unravel.
In January 2018 Nokas received good news: The Financial Supervisory Authority decided to maintain its earlier guidance that the charge levied on customers for cash withdrawals in euros made in another EU country must be the same as that levied on customers when using Automatia’s Otto ATMs. Moreover, the Financial Supervisory Authority recommended that the service charge levied for cash withdrawals made in Finland using different operators’ ATMs should be no more than the service charge levied when using Otto. The decision enabled Nokas to continue installation of the ATMs.
“Lexia’s expertise and very proactive approach in handling the assignment made it possible for us to continue offering consumers competitive alternatives for cash withdrawals. Lexia’s expertise in the financial sector and its willingness to address the legal uncertainty prevailing in the market played a crucial role,” says Risto Lepo, Head of Sales and Development, Nokas.
The public version of Lexia’s statement can be found here >>