like to think of myself as the last farmer on Wall Street B How did you launch rural banking in Australia and what is the secret of its success? B the US business? What have your biggest challenges and achievements been? B forward to in retirement? How do you see the future for Rabobank? A "I liketo thinkof myselfasthe last farmer on Wall Street. I may be based in New York, but my heart is in the farming industry. Let's face it, there are not many real Food Agribusiness banks out there. And there's certainly no other bank that tries to focus as much on this industry as we do. That's very much to do with Rabobank's roots in Dutch agriculture, a business l've been involved in pretty much from the start of my career. Soon after I joined the bank, I became an account manager for agricultural cooperatives and medium-sized agribusinesses. I still think that is the best job in the bank. I really enjoyed the close relationships I had with my customers. I was also very lucky that I joined the bank when we were just starting to develop a banking business outside the individual member banks, as we followed our Dutch customers cross-border. Looking back, that was the seed of what is now Rabobank International." A "When we opened our first branch office in Sydney in 1994,1 attended the launch festivities as the Deputy General Manager of the International Division. During those festivities, executive board member Henk Visser and I had a number of meetings with potential clients. One of them said that we should buy the Primary Industry Bank of Australia (PIBA). That was something of a first for us, but Mr. Visser was a pretty determined man. He made an appointment with the bank's management the very next day, and we discovered the bank was for sale and that it was an excellent cultural fit with Rabobank. Once l'd convinced the Executive Board and got approval to buy the bank, the question was, who was going to run it? I was so convinced we could make it work, I said l'd do it myself. As a farmer's son, l've been involved in agriculture personally and professionally my whole life and I saw very quickly that PIBA had a lot in common with Rabobank in terms of culture, closeness to its customers, and industry knowledge. That and the quality of the people are still the main reasons for the success of the business in Australia, and later in New Zealand. It also helped that the staff welcomed us with open arms. Unlike the previous owners, we were willing to invest in the bank's future." A 'The US was very different from Australia. We had a reasonably well-developed corporate banking business in the US, but no retail operation at all. The greatest challenge in launching our retail operations in the US was convincing the local communities where we invested that Rabobank was here to stay. This wasn't a problem we had faced in Australia, as PIBA already had a strong brand and solid reputation. But I was convinced that the Rabobank community-banking model would also work in the US. So we made a string of investments, starting in 2002, to build the retail business. Now we have a fully-fledged, profitable retail banking business for local entrepreneurs, farmers and communities in California, and a successful farmer financing business throughout the rest of the US. And local businesses, farmers, and communities in the US now know that Rabobank is here to stay, because we've kept our promise to serve them in good times and bad." A "What l've tried to achieve is to help make Rabobank a global F&A bank. And that has also been my biggest challenge. There's always been a fair amount of skepticism about whether we could do that, partly because we're the only bank trying to do it. So I suppose my proudest achievement would be that, step-by-step, l've managed to convince more and more people within the bank that we can become the leading F&A bank. The revised strategy we unveiled last year is proof that people really believe that now." A "Well, l'm still pretty young at heart, and I have a young family, so I don't expect to be slowing down too much. l'm certainly looking forward to spending more time with my wife and my son at our Connecticut home, and l'll be staying in the US. But l'm an entrepreneur at heart, so I fully expect to continue on that front. After all, that has given me enormous joy over the years. l'm truly grateful to Rabobank for giving me the opportunity to be an entrepreneurial banker and to build something I really believe in." A 'The current crisis has shown that the cooperative banking model is very strong. Of course we've made mistakes, but not nearly as many as other banks. As Rabobank Group Chairman Bert Heemskerk said recently, the difference between success and failure might simply be making fewer mistakes than others. One of Rabobank's greatest strengths lies in the fact that it's a customer cooperative, here to serve its customers through thick and thin. We really do work together as colleagues to come up with the best solutions for our clients, and when our clients get the right solution, they reward us and help us grow our business. Of course, our cooperative values, like integrity, are also a very big advantage. Our clients know that when they come to Rabobank, they will always get a fair deal. And our knowledge is a tremendous asset too: we know more about the F&A industry than any other bank. Knowing our clients and their business will continue to be a vital factor in Rabobank's future success." ISSUE 20 THE WORD

Rabobank Bronnenarchief

blad 'RI The Word / The Word' (EN) | 2009 | | pagina 17