Dutch Desk America - a between the Netherlands and the USA M'iühïïaP® Piiisili! KöDO band A client in the Netherlands approaches his local Rabobank with a problem about doing business in the United States. The bank cannot give an immediate answer to his specific question. Obviously, it is impossible to know everything about the vast number of regulations, laws, addresses and services there. That requires specific expertise and experience. But not to worry. The relevant affiliated Rabobank simply contacts the country desk for North and South America at Rabobank Nederland in Utrecht. An interview with the staff of one of the Dutch Desks which Rabobank boasts: the Dutch Desk America. Help for banks and clients Issue 2/September 23, 1988 in the USA and follow that with the ques- tion of whether we can give them a list of potential customers. And then they do not realize that America has 250 million inhab- itants and is much bigger than the Netherlands.' He continues: 'When the question is finally clear, we can then indi- cate what we can supply. That may vary from specific advice on one subject to the assistance in finding answers to a wider range of questions with regard to starting an export to the US. We explain how inter national payments operate. We will teil: Remember to stay out of that, do not go too far there, these are the customs, and so on. After that the New York office comes into the picture and, in fact, takes over the customer.' Many questions and answers Some- thing more about the tasks of the Dutch Desk in Utrecht. Paul Dekker: 'We are in- volved with a large number of aspects. We give quite a lot of information about the financial system and how it operates, but also about such things as product lia- bility and insurance. The legal system in America is completely different from that ne of the most important tasks II of the New York office is assist- ing the local Rabobanks in the Netherlands and the clients of these local banks. It is done through the Dutch Desk in New York, but there is also a Dutch Desk in the Netherlands. The two Dutch Desks cooperate closely with each other, they operate as a conjunction of each other.' The speaker is Paul Dekker, who is head of the North and South America Desk. Within the country desk North and South America the Dutch Desk America is run by Marjolein Ruijs. She maintains in tensive contact with Dutch Desk Officer Bert Wiss in New York. He is also Dutch and is Marjolein Ruijs's opposite number. Paul Dekker has had more than five years' banking experience in America, of which four years with Rabobank New York. We have built up the Desk in two years. ihe intention is that the Dutch Desk Officers visit each other regularly. Busi ness is done by people and not by institu- tions. At the Desks we are always encoun- tering unusual things. Anything that goes according to plan simply carries on in its own way. We do not have to intervene'. Marjolein Ruijs has been involved with the Dutch Desk from the start. Before that she already worked with the International Division of Rabobank Nederland. 'What we aim to do', says Marjolein Ruijs, 'is to keep the threshold for the local Rabo banks as low as possible. On the basis of the questions passed on to us we can judge whether the answer can be given here in Utrecht or has to be given in New York. Don't start there, we always say, but here in the Netherlands. Generally a phone call comes back from New York and we have to give the answer here in the Netherlands anyway. Since we are located in the Netherlands, which has proven to be easier for a lot of local Rabobanks to con tact us, we have greatly expanded the ac- cessibility of the Dutch Desk.' Furthermore, Paul Dekker adds: 'Gene rally the client does not always know how to formulate his question and sometimes does not explain it clearly to his local Rabobank. As a result, the Rabobank can not fully understand what the problem ac- tually is. You have to help in such cases. After all, we have to answer the question correctly.' What happens, for instance, if some- one asks: 'Can you give us the name of a lawyer in America'. Paul Dekker: 'We then ask, where and what for? When we know that, we can give the right answer and of- ten add extra background information and advice. It also regularly happens that clients say they intend to set up a branch in the Netherlands. Furthermore, we give information and advice about the Ame rican market and, for example, provide in- troductions to the Chambers of Com- merce. The A Team Sometimes, the first contact between the local Rabobank and the America Desk is made through the 'A Team'. That is a nickname for a group of advisers in the International Division who inform local Rabobanks how they can sup port their clients' international activities. They point the way to the country desks and give the necessary back-up. Quite a lot of banks still do not do much business at international level and therefore have lit- tle experience, for example, with interna tional payments. The A team pinpoints the need for activities and support in this field in the Netherlands. SP wjk ai Bert Wiss, Paul Dekker and Marjolein Ruijs.

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blad 'Raboband International' (EN) | 1988 | | pagina 5