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“Go back to your home country.”

January 22, 2018

How many of you living in a foreign country have heard that?

I have heard that a few times over the years, but only in the first few years after I moved here.

A social media storm has ensued since Yagmur Özberkan tweeted that she had been told to “go back to her home country” after applying to get a loan with her boyfriend at a Nordea bank in Turku last week. Özberkan has lived in Finland for over 25 years.

She tweeted this:

Which roughly translates to: “I’ve faced many kinds of prejudices, but this tops them all: I asked for a mortgage offer from Nordea, and I was told to go back to my home country. Thanks, Nordea, for good customer service.

Other than what I would categorize as blatant racism on the part of the bank employee involved, what gives?

There is more here on the fallout (in English).

My only reaction wide-mouthed shock. I am speechless. We have already heard about how hard it is for foreigners in Finland to even open a bank account and how it continues to be an issue even these days. All you have to do is peruse some of the most popular English-speaking web forums for foreigners in Finland to see that these kinds of things still happen a lot.

***

Long ago and far away, the Mr. and I had all of our banking business at Nordea. We also tried to apply for a bank loan and were roundly rejected – by telephone, with no explanation given. Now I wonder if my non-Finnish surname at the time play a part in that. One can always wonder.

At the end of the day, no matter how long we have lived in Finland or how much effort we have put into trying to fit in, there will always be a segment of the population who maintains, “All immigrants out of Finland.” or “You will never be Finnish enough.”

It still sucks.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. anonymous permalink
    January 25, 2018 12:53 am

    Don’t use Nordea: Finland doesn’t need any bigger systemic risk in banking and Nalle clearly has enough money already since he always feels the need to push his stupid ideas on everyone.

  2. Emma permalink
    January 25, 2018 9:26 pm

    That’s really true you would never enough Finnish. I have been living since 5 years but I think it will take age to know whole society .

    https://www.coolrahoittaa.fi/pikavippi-100e

  3. January 27, 2018 12:47 pm

    Yes it sucks. I took a mortgage with my Finnish boyfriend at the bank where he used to work at the time, so we didn’t have any problem negotiating it, but when we asked for an English version of the contract, we were told no translation was available. Then on the day of signing the mortgage, we met another employee, who asked why we hadn’t asked for a contract in English. So it WAS available, it’s just that the first employee refused for us to have it. And I signed the biggest contract of my life without being able to read it. It doesn’t matter too much, because I trust my boyfriend’s explanations (we discussed the terms together thoroughly) and if there is any problem in the future, they will be the one in the wrong in front of a tribunal. But it feels like I met the same kind of person as the nurse who claimed she would choose the biggest needle to draw blood from foreigners: hidden hostility from someone who is supposed to help you.

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