14 Apr 2021 14:06

Demand for digital services has increased during the remote working, states Eeva Virtanen, Country Manager at SEB Kort Finland

Eeva Virtanen started as Country Manager, SEB Kort Finland in the beginning of last November in the middle of corona pandemic. We asked Eeva how her work in her new role has started in this exceptional situation, which has significantly hit the use of company cards. At the same time the corona has given time to companies to orientate to new methods in payment processes and cost handling.

You have now been few months in your new position. How the start has felt and have some issues  surprised  you?

The start in this new position in the middle of corona pandemic has of course been special. Even though the house is familiar, there are many things to learn and to network with new persons. Both positions, which I started nearly at the same time, have their own kinds of challenges, but the new angle to approach the business has definitely brought new challenges to my own learning, too. In my work as  SEB Kort Branch Manager it is important just now to keep up the staff motivation although the remote work continues.

How the corona pandemic shows right now in the use of cards? Have you been able to offer something new to clients in this difficult situation?

The  corona pandemic has of course had an influence on the use of cards, especially on purchases regarding travelling. Our business unit is Nordic and differences in these countries can be noticed. Sweden, e.g. reacted on corona pandemic much later than other countries. Differences can be seen also in between business branches and depending on sizes of companies.

During these times we are discussing a lot with our corporate clients how to handle small purchases and in general how to help our corporate customers with their purchase processes. The current situation has emphasized the demand for digital services on payment processes and cost handlings. Many companies have now been able to orientate to these issues much better than earlier. .

How the corona pandemic has impacted on your own work?

I have already last five years been responsible for Nordic team, so I am used to the fact that I am not in the same place with my team, but still the remote work at home was a big change. The lack of daily face to face communication with other colleagues is the biggest challenge.  I am glad that  all our work equipment have supported me well when working at home office. Unexpectedly I am not missing the business travelling that much, even though I am waiting to meet my colleagues.

SEB is expanding its services in Central Europe. What is the situation regarding SEB Kort? What is the geographical area where SEB Kort offers its services?

SEB’s expansion is a really good news to us too as we have issued and offered payment solutions to Nordic clients in Europe already for several years. To our corporate clients it is important that they are able to start to use payment solutions  with same conditions in their subsidiaries in all European countries. Especially the demand for digital solutions and tools to enable the centralization of cost controlling have been increased significantly during the last years. The corona pandemic has, for its parts, also increased the interest to search cost savings and process benefits with the help of solutions.

At this moment we are able to issue Eurocard company cards in 27 European countries and during the years we have added new billing currencies, too.