european financial g merger ICCREA - new partner Mutual services Real terms Practical moves What S NewS Issue 4 June/ July 2000 D Picture left - Hans Smits, Rabobank Group, Severino Sangiorgi, iCCREA, and Bernd Thiemann, DG BANK at the signing ceremony We want to combat that by arranging top quality services for our customers witli highly reputable banks around Europe.' Any of you who know something of the Unico concept may be wondering how th is new approach differs from what has, essentially, been in place for over 20 years - without making a major mark. For Kuijpers the answer is institutionaliza- tion, the integration and embedding of the concept at every level of participating banks. 'The basis of what is the step-by- step construction of a pan-European fi nancial group is that we create an institu- tionalized framework to promote and stimulate our goals,' he says. 'In the fu ture, we wilt be linking our networks so that, ultimately, one of our customers can walk into, say, a German Raiffaisen or Volksbank and do 'home', ie. Rabobank, business from there. And vice versa.' Fur- tlier, in addition to mutual customer ser vices, partners will be looking for joint venture and other forms of cooperation to achieve economies of scale. 'And thirdly, we will have created a Coordination Plat form where all partners are represented and can explore strategie ways forward.' Within Rabobank International, we have already begun laving foundations for the kind of joint venture cooperation envis- aged by the multi-domestic concept, and the half share taken by DG BANK in Rabo Securities is a concrete move in that direction (see story on page 3). While the MDC may seern to focus primarily on re- tail, corporate and investment banking are seen as key because economies of scale, volume and, in some cases, placement power are important for the stability, suc- cess and growth of the European coopera- tive group. The pursuit of stability also underlies the bank-by-bank approach to establishing this new pan-European insti- tution. '1 think it is impor tant,' says Kuijpers, 'for everyone to realize that our goal here is not so much to become pan-Euro pean for the sake of it. Rather, our aint is to create better services for cus tomers. That means we will cooperate only when it really makes a difference, when it makes sense in real terms.' Because all potential partners have their own specific structures, cultures and sys- tems, it would prove almost impossible to push for the creation of the group as a mass exercise. We have already discovered the reality of differences between DG and RI and how that can effect the best laid plans. With this experience behind us, Kuijpers believes that we can now move plans forward so that the envisaged group will rapidly begin to take on a credible stature in both the market and in the or- ganizations concerned. With the Italian cooperative credit system now joining the original two-bank group, we are seeing how it will work in practice. ICCREA which performs the 'central banking' role Italy's cooperative movement has a strong rural base. Like its sister organizations around Europe, it bas increasingly become a full service provider to all bank ing segments. Cur- rently, it has a net- work of 530 Credit Cooperative Banks and Rural Banks which operate in over 4,000 locations. With deposits of EUR 54 billion, a loan portfolio of EUR 38 billion and four million cus tomers, the credit cooperatives have a market share of more than 7%. for Italian credit cooperatives, and DG BANK intend to sign a service agreement by November 2000 and will be working on a joint-venture concept for service and consultancy to local cooperative banks by June 2001. This service will also be open to other European cooperative partners. DG BANK will also be providing support for ICCREA in the development of vari- ous financial product groups. On our side, Robeco will be offering asset man agement support to ICCREA, not least through channeling investment products through the Italian cooperative network. Kuijpers will not be drawn on potential new joiners in the near future, but is will ing to concede that talks are ongoing with a number of cooperative financial institu- tions around Europe - watch this space for more. Building a European bank (from left): Arnold Kuijpers, Rabobank Nederland: Berthold Eichwald, DG BANK: Giuliano Tagliavini, ICCREA, Helmut Pehle, DG BANK: and Franco Caleffi, Federcasse

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blad 'What's news' (EN) | 2000 | | pagina 9