The New York branch Rabo band April 9, 1981, Rabobank began a new stage of international ex- pansion by opening the New York Branch. The bank located in one of New York's premier buildings on prestigious Park Avenue, the mid-Manhattan hub of the New York banking community. The broad avenue approaching Grand Central Station hosts fashionable shops, churches, museums, gardens and world famous hotels like the Waldorf Astoria. Minutes away, walkers can ascend the Empire State building, visit the United Nations, give their regards to Broadway or watch skaters at Rockefeller Center. A ten minute ride by subway gives access to the Wall Street based financial gi- its of New York, a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, or a visit to South Street Seaport - a living reminder of the days when sturdy Dutch ships and captains provided the core of a vigorous com- merce based on ferries, sail and steam transcontinental shipping. Issue 2/September 23, 1988 Little knowing they would number over 100 by 1988, the bank's orig- inal 36 employees started with a three-part mandate: Serve member bank and central bank customers doing business in the US, as well as US companies with a presence in Holland. Establish a presence for the bank in the US money and capital market and the world's US dollar clearing center. Make a profit, expanding on the bank's strengths in international agribusiness. The environment they faced was daunt- ing: a country with a population of 250 mil- i where potential customers located in ^cin Francisco were as far away as Amsterdam; a banking sector regulated not just by Federal law but by 50 indepen dent states, often as culturally diverse as the countries of Europe; an established competition of 14,000 US banks, 450 foreign banks and a variety of other so phisticated financial and investment insti- Multiflora Greenhouses Inc. a cliënt of the New York Branch. tutions moving into traditional banking ser vices. An environment, in short, where costs could be counted on to rise as mar- gins narrowed. Agribusiness The attraction lay in the fact that Holland was the second largest investor in the US and the second largest buyer of US agricultural commodities. And while the competition was strong, there were very few banks with a concentration on agribusiness and practically none with focus on international agribusiness. The challenge was to assist their cliënt base with their increasingly international fi nancial needs, and to find a way to do it at a profit. To use creativity to develop high quality products and services to meet cliënt needs and to specialize, choosing to emphasize those things they could do bet ter and those things they could do new, rather than trying to be all things to all people. The result was a strategy that empha- sized linking specialized knowledge of agri cultural financing and international trade and investment financing with detailed un- derstanding of the international supply and demand relationships of agricultural com modities. Building a specialized industry expertise not available elsewhere. With this knowledge the bank could offer its clients, in addition to its historical commit- ment to this sector, sophisticated assess- ments of risk and creative solutions to their financial needs. Seven years later, the Branch, with over US$ 2,000,000,000 in assets, finds itself with a major involvement in most ma jor sectors of agribusiness: poultry pro cessing from slaughter to pre-cooked chicken wings; coffee, sugar, cocoa im- porting and processing: grain merchandiz- ing. Whether oranges, grapes, plums, apri- cots, nectarines, beef farms, turkey farms or fish nurseries, feed lots, processing or storage facilities, the Branch has devel- oped a cliënt base and became a principal lender. Funding Of equal importance has been its success in developing alternative US dollar funding sources for the Rabo bank organization and the increasing fund ing of the expanding US loan portfolio. The development of very successful commer cial paper and medium term note pro grams now allows the bank to issue notes as small as US$ 100,000 for periods up to 15 years at a fixed rate. Investments in high quality paper such as US Treasury notes and government guaranteed paper provide an important and profitable outlet for the funds generated. The significance and potential of these treasury activities are reasons the Branch was initially locat ed in New York, the financial center, rather than in a mid-western location which might have been chosen had the bank focused only on financing agribusiness. Future opportunities Looking ahead from 1988, the opportunity is still im- Staff Controller's, Risk Management, Account Management and Corporate Services Units.

Rabobank Bronnenarchief

blad 'Raboband International' (EN) | 1988 | | pagina 3