Rabobank - Past and Present 4 International Partners in trade 1994 - a year of renewal Riding offer ISSUE 25/24 JANUARY 1994 In 1993, Rabobank intensified its relatïonship with the Netherlands' Centre for the Promotion of Trade (NCH). One result is the bank's closer involvement in NCH activities, such as the organization of the so-called EuroPartenariat trade fairs. The EuroPartenariat is aimed at stimulating development in what are known in Eurospeak as 'less favoured regions' in the EU. The basic idea is to expand enterprise in these regions by promoting tra de between small and medium- sized businesses there and similar companies in other EU and non- EU countries. Says International banking services liaison officer, Bert Wiss: 'It is actually an excel lent concept because it is not on- ly truly pragmatic, but is also sub- sidized by Brussels so that even the smallest of businesses is able to get out there and see what op- portunities for international tra de are available to them.' The concept is simple. A particular region is selected and work begins on compiling a directory of local small and medium-sized com panies which meet specific criteria, such as potential abifity to export or act as distributors. This directory, available in five languages from chambers of commerce or national trade promotion organizations, is then presented to companies in each EU state which may be in- terested in that specific region. 'Rabobank will be taking care of the next two Dutch presentations - on Turkey and Poland,' says Wiss. 'As a bank, we are also ex- tremely interested in these two countries. And hosting the pre sentations gives us an opportuni- ty not only to provide our clients with an additional service, but in troducés us to potential new busi ness as they are also attended by non-Rabobank clients.' Following the presentation, com panies can then register for the two-day trade fairs. 'But unlike normal shows,' Wiss continues, 'these are extremely efficiënt and well-organized because on arrival participants receive a pre-arrang- ed list of appointments with com panies from the region in focus that could be interesting for them.' However, business at Euro Partenariat is done at many more levels. 'Not only can you meet and talk with people from that parti cular region, but many of the other visitors - from all over the world - are also potentially inter esting trade partners. The fair I at tended in Scotland last month was truly impressive. I think it is a wonderful opportunity for small and medium companies because they tend to have little time for networking and often don't have an "export manager" who can de vote all his or her time to search- ing out new business. The fairs mean they are able to meet a large number of potential part ners in a short period without having to spend months finding them. And figures show that around 60 per cent of meetings lead in possible partnerships and 40 percent to ac- tual signed contracts.' Forthcoming EuroPartenariat trade fairs will be held in Istanbul, Turkey on April 6 and 7; Gdansk, Poland on June 9 and 10 - Rabo bank will host the presentations for these fairs on February 2 and April 15 respectively. This occasional series returns to Raboband International in the next issue and we will be focussing on the developments within the CBS which have been designed to streamline the organization and improve its efficiency and performance. the actual market. So we will have to adopt a mediatory role in the sense that, instead of sit- ting here thinking how things should be done nationwide, we should be diseminating the best practices available within the or ganization. We have to search out sound suggestions and busi ness practices in the member banks and introducé them throughout the organization. There's absolutely no point in sit- ting here reinventing the wheel.' 'Over the past year,' he told the as- sembled personnel, 'we have seen a large number of developments get off the ground. We've seen in- creased efficiency drives in the member banks, and we've been actively pursuing a cost-reduction policy through a number of pro- jects. We'11 be continuing those ef- forts in 1994 and, if the past year can be designated as a year of re- thinking, the new year will be a period when renewal in many areas will take on concrete form.' 1993 was not a bad year for Rabo bank as a whole, certainly in view of the current economie climate. And the efficiency and other drives which had been set in mo tion were already showing re- sults. Wijffels pointed out that growth in costs had been slowed by 3 percent, credit portfolios had grown by 7 percent, but the fiinds entrusted to the bank in savings had shown only 2-per- cent growth, which 'was not good at all'. And though the bank saw a year-end return on solven- cy of 6 percent, this was still well below the targeted 10 percent. 'In the past,' he continued, 'this bank relied on the availability of cheap savings. That time is over. So we have to be more active in bringing in clients. To do that, In his traditional New Year's Address to Central Banking Sector staff, chairman Herman Wijffels described the coming period as a time of internal change which, he hopes, will gradually make the bank even more competitive, efficiënt and effective in its markets. But there's still a lot to be done before these goals are achieved. Chairman Herman Wijffels - no intention of reinvent ing the wheel. renewal and cost-control must go hand in hand. In addition, we have to develop new approaches within Rabobank Nederland. We will have to see the member banks more as clients and ap- proach them on a more equal ba sis. They have a vast amount of expertise on and knowledge of Rabobank is the chief sponsor of the World Equestrian Games to be held in The Hague from July 27 to August 7 this year. Competitors from all over the world will be competing in the full range of equestrian disciplines and tickets for these events are available to Rabobank personnel at reduced rates. A full program (unfortunately only in Dutch) and the reduced prices were printed in issue 1 of the Dutch Raboband. However, the offer is also open to staff at the foreign offices. Ariyone who is in terested should contact the spon soring department, UCB 561, preferably before February 1.

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blad 'Raboband International' (EN) | 1994 | | pagina 4