Global or local, centralised or distributed; these are common dilemmas in large international organisations. Tasks are moved around, responsibilities changed. For Rabobank Netherlands this means that Rabobank International gets more involved with its Dutch clients at home. However, how do both parties deal with this mutual dependency? Flying bankers On the phone in Rotterdam, Christian Mol warns that certain language is not acceptable in his company: "Describe a local Rabobank as a branch and you will never workfor us again!" He is joking, of course, but it shows that the cooperative spirit is very much alive in the Netherlands. Local banks are not the branches in the organisational tree, they are the roots, says Mol. The 147 Dutch member banks are not servants to the head office, but are the bank's frontline in the market, and centralised departments should assist them in serving their customers. Although structure might follow strategy outside the Netherlands, at home it is the other way around. Although organisational theory dictates otherwise, Rabobank has good reason to stick to its unique structure in the Netherlands. The pre-eminence of member banks has resulted in a healthy mutual dependency between Rabobank Netherlands and Rabobank International. The Dutch activities are a major factor in international funding, while a lot of expertise that is concentrated in the central teams and international departments is channelled back to the local banks. This collaboration results in a different market approach that deserves its own name. Let's call it cooperative commerce. How cooperative commerce can be used in the market of medium enterprises is explained by Eric Saris, executive vice-president at Rl. Fifteen years ago, the bank saw an opportunity to grow in the corporate market and started hiring experts to broaden its focus. At first, the efforts were aimed at larger corporates, but soon it became clear that Rabobank was better at targeting smaller businesses through its local banks. "Currently we are in second position in the Dutch market, with a 28 percent share in the market of all corporates. We are leading in the SME segment of small businesses that see their bank as a one-stop-shop, but we want to be more attractive for larger companies with CFOs who are used to shopping around. Our current goal is to gain ground in the mid-segment, as that is considered the 'sweet spot' in the market." Working with CFOs requires different skills and competencies. For that purpose, Rl has introduced regional teams of'flying bankers' whofunction as the linking pin between the central and local operations. "Our nine regional teams focus on companies with an annual turnover of between EUR 30 million and EUR 250 issue 23 Rl WORLD 35

Rabobank Bronnenarchief

blad 'RI World' (EN) | 2010 | | pagina 35