ml3i 'Things are going well abroad' KiJUU Agribusiness Advisory Board met in South Carolina also at earning money for the organization with it', Van Slingelandt assures. The finan- cial objective runs in parallel with the com mercial aims. At any rate, we are continuing to specialize in the agribusiness abroad. The offices have been given the commercial scope to develop into profitable units. This means that from time to time, for instance, they occasionally finance a car factory instead of a compound feed factory. Our objective as an agribusiness bank is that compound feed factory but you mustn't deprive the offices of the opportunity to recoup some of their costs by financing something like that.' Strong growth The foreign business is growing at a terrific rate. What does that mean for the International Division? 'Yes in deed, things are changingthere', agrees Van Slingelandt. 'For example, in area manage ment there has been an important shift from maintaining correspondent banking relations to much more commercially established trade financing activities. The results to date are extremeiy encouraging. It is an activity that must contribute to the bank's results.' Personnel and communication 'At pre sent, there are already over 800 Rabobank people working beyond the frontiers of the Netherlands. Because of the rapid growth, we actually come up against two problems', comments Van Slingelandt. 'How do you find the right people in the Netherlands and how do you maintain two-way communication. To get good people, we put a lot into training. For example, we have just started a training course for young graduates. But of course it will be a few years yet before they can really pull their weight. We actually have a con stant need for good people. Then communi cation. In spite of the fact that we have a perfect telephone system, express mail, fax- ing and so on communication is still difficult. The more you grow, the more attention you have to pay to this. Five years ago it was still the case that if you spoke regularly to the of fice manager in New York you knew more or less what was going on in Rabobank abroad. Nowadays, you have to telephone and discuss a lot more... Communication both in the International Division and also in the Rabobank Group will get a lot of attention in the period ahead.' Issue 7/September 21, 1990 band managers of the foreign offices together in Utrecht. The 'In fact we are setting up an entirely new organization', says Van Slingelandt. 'The number of employees abroad will also be expanded. For the first time an advertise- ment was inserted for this purpose in the in- ternal vacancy bulletin published weekly in the Netherlands. I think that in any event we have to try it once to see whether any in terest exists.' Things are going well with Rabobank, outside the Netherlands too. Van Slingelandt: 'When you go into the foreign offices anywhere in the world you enter a real Rabobank where Rabobank's phil- osophy, agricultural background and streight forwardness clearly come through. The employees are also real Rabobank people: modest, with both feet firmly on the ground and hard-working. 1990 will be a very successful year for us. The US Agribusiness Advisory Board met for the third time in Charleston, South Carolina, in June. On the agenda were topics such as Eastern Europe, environ- mental issues and food safety. The devel- opments in the US grain industry were also on the list. The US Agribusiness Advisory Board is an informal body which alerts the Rabobank Group to particular developments and trends in American agriculture. The Board has 13 members. These include top people from companies in such agricultural sectors as poultry, cereals, calf fattening, dairy produce and market gardening. But there is also someone from Flarvard Uni- versity who follows the agribusiness world with an academie eye. A meeting between the US Agribusiness Advisory Board, the management of Rabobank Nederland and the management of our branch in the United States takes place once a year. The discussion centres on developments and trends in American agriculture for the coming three to five years. From this, developments are pinpointed on which Rabobank, as a banking organization, has to keep close watch. On the one hand, to see where possible risks may occur in the future. But, of course, also to spot where new opportunities will arise. Fiugo Steensma, general manager of the New York Branch: 'The Board is mainly concerned with the United States. But the agribusiness is naturally never a purely American activity. About one quarter of what is produced in the United States is intended for export. So it is important to follow what happens, for example, in the EC and in Eastern Europe. International developments and subjects therefore cer- tainly come up for discussion.' The first meeting of the Agribusiness Board was held in 1988, at the time of the opening of the office in Dallas. The Rabo bank Group is the only bank to have such an advisory board at its dis- posal. 'You really must see it as an informal activity', emphasizes Steensma. 'The members must feel free to exchange views openly with each other. No minutes are taken. It is also the intention that the com- position of the Board is changed from time to time. In that way the field of view remains broad and up-to- date. The members need not necessarily come from the United States. They are, however, strongly involved there with their company in one way or another.' The names of the members of the Board are listed at the back of the 1989 interna tional annual report.

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blad 'Raboband International' (EN) | 1990 | | pagina 4