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The green heart of Norway
Facts about the Kongsvinger region
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Creates local opportunities for young adults
Nursing students Maria Johnsen and Emma Wilhelmsen Eikbråten benefit from the fact that Odal Sparebank wants to promote Kongsvinger as a student town. The student association receives financial support, and the students financial advice and sparring.
The student association receives help with the implementation of the sponsorship week and the practicalities of banking. In addition, Odal Sparebank has also contributed financial support to create a social meeting place in the basement of the school building.
- We as students see great benefits of studying in a slightly smaller place. The new social meeting place "bomb" is a place where you can be gathered as a student group. In this way, we connect students, get to know each other better, increase well-being and have a good relationship with the region, says Emma Wilhelmsen Eikbråten (21).
The Kongsvinger region must grow
Maj-Britt Biller, branch bank manager at the Kongsvinger office in Odal Sparebank, is happy that the bank can help make the region grow by investing in young people.
- In the long run, the region will have access to good competence from the university college. And there will also be many counseling conversations for us with the students, she says.
Today, more students are buying their first home while they are studying. Then it is good to be able to meet people at the bank who give good advice across the table, not just to have a loan application processed on a website. Nursing student Maria Johnsen has completed her education by the summer, and now works shifts at 80 percent. She has already bought a home.
- Odal Sparebank has people with local knowledge of the housing market here. They have seen me as a human being and given me advice along the way. It is clear that this means a lot to us who are in the establishment phase, she says.
In the autumn of 2020, Odal Sparebank's Kongsvinger branch moved into new premises. The bank is growing and more space is needed. The Kongsvinger region sees a strong need for increased competence in the health sector, and nursing students are important in many ways. We are also working on a field of study at the Vocational School in rehabilitation.
Gifts and collaboration agreementsOdal Sparebank has collaboration agreements with several teams and associations in our market areas. We are concerned that children and young people grow up in safe, good local communities with good offers in their free time.
In addition to collaboration agreements, we have an annual gift award where we encourage local teams and associations to apply for funding for good projects. We prioritize projects of lasting value and measures aimed at children and young people. With NOK 8,5 billion in total assets and part of the Eika alliance, Odal Sparebank has both financial muscle and strength enough to be a local and reliable bank for its customers.
- We are proud of the good cooperation we have with local teams here in the region. I would especially like to highlight the commercial that the teams participated in last autumn, in connection with our move to new premises in Storgata. They made a real effort and we are so proud of the result, says Maj-Britt.
As an employee of a local bank, the employees have the advantage of knowing their local community - and their customers. The goal is to be the customer's supporter of small and large financial choices - throughout life. The advisers have proximity and local knowledge that can be worth their weight in gold when customers need sparring to realize plans and goals.
- We are here locally, and the customers own the bank. Therefore, we know our customers well and can give them good advice. Also those who are not completely A4 customers, says Biller.
As a savings bank, it is natural that the main target group is the retail market. But Odal Sparebank is also the largest corporate bank in the region, and about a quarter of the bank's customers are corporate customers.
- With us, it is important that everyone is involved, and that everyone is seen. We work constantly to show our customers in practice, she says.
If you take a look at the bank's Facebook page, you quickly see lots of nice comments and gratitude from associations that have received help and gifts from their local bank. KIL turn and Victory Dance are two good examples of partners in Kongsvinger.
Economic Council since 1877
With a full 143 years behind him in banking, Odal Sparebank has contributed to the development and shaping of the local community through generations. New generations of advisers and customers are coming, but the ideology and the local security and anchoring remain. The banking industry and technology have made many banking services self-service, but Odal Sparebank meets customers who need face-to-face advice on a daily basis.
- The funny thing is that young conscious customers also want to meet us physically to discuss the finances and the loan. So the myth that only older customers want face-to-face advice is not true, says Maj-Britt.
Odal Sparebank still wants to be the heart of the local community. And advisors know much more than the banking craft. Insurance and pension advice are just as important as the bank's traditional services such as payments, loans and savings.
On the corporate side, Odal Sparebank reflects the local business structure, with small and medium-sized companies. There are a lot of family businesses, agriculture and building / construction on the customer list. But regardless of whether they are business leaders or private individuals, the bank's employees will be a long-term partner for their customers in the local community.
Advantages of studying in a smaller place:
(from the students)
- You are seen as a student, and remembered by first name.
- You get good follow-up, and teachers have time to help you and possibly reflect.
- Now in the corona crisis you can meet at school. There are large rooms and fewer students, so you are able to maintain infection control considerations and measures.
- It will be a safe and good environment.
- Everyone is supportive and wants to strengthen each other.
Text and photo: Svein A. Halvorsen
Read more similar cases in the series #kongsstories