Rabobank - past and present Rabo Cooperating for growth susilB - ÉÉt% Cottoning on Issue 21/Sep 20,1993 band In the first part of our ongoing series on the development of Rabobank and Dutch agribusiness (issue 17), we looked at the 19th-century origins of the two major banks which would later merge to become one of the highest rated financial institutions in the world. But it took around 75 years before the two cooper- ative banks finally got around to cooperating with each other. Surprisingly enough, the cre- ation of two separate organiz- ations in 1898 - one in Utrecht, the other in Eindhoven - also sowed the seeds for the process which would ultimately lead to their merger into a single cooperative agricultural credit organization in 1973. Up until Before the merger - a typical Raiffeisen member bank... the Second World War, the two banks continued to develop in their own individual ways, al- though there were great similar- ities in their activities. Both focussed on financingthe Nether- lands' food and agribusiness, and both entered the retail mar- ket in the post-war years. Ob- viously, the banks both partici- pated in such initiatives as the Agricultural Loan Guarantee Fund set up after the war to as- sist in rebuildingthe Dutch agri- sector, but for many years, it was still a question of meeting together, rather than working to- gether. The same basis applied when it came to financing large agricultural cooperatives. As Dutch farm- ing reshap- ed and redefi- ned itself in the early post-war de cades, mer- gers between agricultural cooperatives increased their scale of operations and more funds were needed to fi- nance this development. The obvious s o I u t i o n would have been for the two central banks to jointly provide the funding. However, they con tinued to provide loans in pro- portion to the interests each had held in these businesses before they merged. It was not until the 1960s that this pat- tern began to change. Like else- where worldwide, this was a decade of great social and economie change in the Nether- lands. Traditional divisions be tween social groups began to disappear and there was a dis- tinct movement towards re- alignments throughout the country. Within the two cooper ative banks, a greater accep- tance of the need to work to gether was gradually de- veloping. But problems re- mained. Both banks had traditional geographicai 'strongholds', ie. the Eind- hoven-bas- ed bank was strongest in the southern part of the country while the Utrecht- bank had most opera- in the and Follo- up competing with each other, but would focus marketing ef- forts of winning customers from non-cooperative banks. Despite the best of intentions, consul- tation proved labourious and after a year little had been achieved. Fortunately, this situ- ation changed quickly. In 1969, the committee was given the ft r ulwtt lijj au k tions north west. wing the post-war growth of far mers' cooperative banks into first the 'savings bank for every- one' and later the 'bank for everyone', traditional regional competitiveness between the two organizations continued to cause problems for some years. However, in the late 1960s, both banks came to the realization that the advantages of working together made much more sense than competing with each other. The first step was taken in 1968, when the banks established a joint com mittee to advise on location pol- icy for member banks, so that neither organization would end ...and a once-familiar Farmers' Lending bank. go-ahead to draw up binding policy regulations on location, which would enable local far mers' credit and Raiffeisen banks to define their area of ac- tivity and, in locations where both operated, to merge. The concept was unanimously ap- proved by the general meetings of both organizations in 1970. The two central banks then con- stituted a committee to ensure the policy's implementation and to handle any problems which may arise from local mer- gers. It would prove to be the first step towards the ultimate creation of Rabobank. Keep watching this space... Around 18 months ago, a new research department was set up to study international agribusiness. In its first year, the agri-research team produc- ed a single report - on the dairy industry. But now the pre- liminary work of establishing research methods is behind it, the department's reports are starting to roll off the presses in quick tempo. 'We followed up the first report on the dairy industry with an overview of the world rice mar- ket,' says department head Hans Reusch, 'and now our third publication, on cotton, is available. But this autumn will also see the arrival of no less than five other reports - on fer- tilizers, fresh and processed fruits, and the pork and poultry industries.' In fact, each report The World Cotton Markot. comprises two sections. One, in glossy brochure form, is de- signed for use as a marketing and informative tooi for both Rabobankers and clients, the other is solely for internal use. The brochure contains a myriad of information on the specific commodity or sector, ranging from historie origins to global market forecasts. In the case of cotton, the main producing, importing and exporting coun- tries are examined in the con text of their current and poten- tial future role in the industry. 'The internal report is commer- cially based and comprises an overview of the main players and the main countries in the researched industry,' says Reusch. 'It is distributed to ac count managers worldwide and they use it to spearhead their activities. The thinking behind the reports is that when the bank designates a specific year as a period in which we will focus our activities on a parti- cular sector, our people in the field need a lot of back-up ma- terial to do their jobs. Next year will emphasize the fruit indus try, so we have already prepared the indepth studies our account managers require to get their teeth into that market.' The forthcoming reports on fresh and processed fruit will be made available to account man agers at the international an- nual meeting from September 13 to 15 in Utrecht. For copies of published reports, contact the marketing services depart ment +31 30 902804.

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blad 'Raboband International' (EN) | 1993 | | pagina 8