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What the heck was Sampo thinking?

May 25, 2008
Over the Easter weekend this year Sampo Bank in Finland was integrated with the operations of Danske Bank in Denmark. In November 2006 the deal was marked by a 4.05 billion Euro deal in which Sampo kept its name, but the owners changed. (See history here: http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Finnish+Sampo+Bank+Group+to+be+sold+to+Danish+Danske+Bank+for+EUR+405+billion/1135222874867)
 
Since that massive IT changeover and interface change, customers have left Sampo Bank in droves because of the continuous technological glitches that have rocked the bank since Easter weekend. One of the upper management of Sampo Bank told MTV 3 news back in late April that she understood customers’ dissatisfaction and their reasons for taking their business elsewhere. How the hell did they think they could implement a massive IT change in just one weekend without any serious problems?
 
The Mr. and I are Sampo Bank customers and while I have been spared most of this pain-in-the-ass technological mess, the Mr. has not. The Mr. has noticed scads of mysterious deposits and withdrawals made to and from his account by the bank. (He can see this in his e-banking interface.) It appears all of these sums are related to our loan, which of course lies with Sampo. And earlier this morning to his utter annoyance, he found out that he can no longer see where he has been spending his money when he uses his credit card. Wait, of course he can, but that would be after his statement arrived in the mail and he would be paying interest on the balance of his card. He said that he would have to call Luottokunta (a card payment service company, see http://www.luottokunta.fi/en/) and ask for a statement ahead of the invoice being issued, which would cost him money. This is a problem for him since he needs to file claims for work-related expenses made with his credit card, and for him, the sooner the better…
 
One day last month I went to the local R-kioski to buy a lottery ticket and put some money on my bus card. I was both shocked and embarrassed to find out my card wasn’t working. So – I had to cancel a 50 EUR transaction and hand back the (possibly winning) lottery ticket. The cashier and her colleague said that Sampo customers had been plagued with various bank card problems that day and that I wasn’t the only one. Still, I had to go to the bank, stand in line like dozens of other people and get some cash.
 
Which leads me to my next point on the utterly shitty e-banking user interface of Sampo Bank. One of my neighbours told me that we have taken a step backwards in terms of usability with the adoption of the Danske Bank e-banking interface. Boy, she wasn’t kidding! As someone who has taken courses in user interface design and has some knowledge of basic usability issues, I have to wonder why Sampo agreed to adopt the poorly designed e-banking user interface of Danske Bank. Not only do you have to click more to make your transactions, you can no longer see where you have been spending your money, unless you click on the transaction in question. (In the old e-banking interface, you could see where you had made the transaction right there in the list.) The wording in the interface is inconsistent and misleading… Trying to find your Inbox is difficult, the page layout sucks and the menu titles are confusing! Just logging into e-banking requires more clicks than before. BLAH!
 
One teeny tiny thing I wish they would change is to allow the use of a comma [ , ] when you enter a EUR amount to pay a bill. In Finland we write Euro sums like this –> 200,00 (notice the comma). In the new e-banking interface of Sampo Bank you get an error if you type in 200,00. ARRGGGH! So – we folks who have been used to writing sums like this –> 200,00 for I don’t how long, are forced to type sums like this –> 200.00. A simple little comma for crying out loud!
 
Let’s just say that e-banking with Sampo Bank has become tedious, time-consuming and bloody annoying. It’s almost crappy enough to make me change banks. And Sampo’s reputation as a bank in Finland? I think that has gone down the sewer sorry to say…
 
Read more on the woes of Sampo Bank here (and I am sure we haven’t seen the last of them):

Confused

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