Pioneer in country banking Selective market strategy for PMEs Multi-distribution Developing new opportunities for growth No rash steps Active in the international retail markets 18 Rabobank Group Annual Report 2002 'I have set up, acquired and managed new offices for Rabobank International in a number of countries. Last year, New York asked me to take on country banking in North America. I started looking for a local bank that might serve as a platform for selling our retail products and services. Market research and personal interviews suggested Valley Independent Bank in California as a suitable partner. They were willing to sell, so the deal was quickly closed. We might expand VIB's network further to the north and are looking at Canada, where we are already partnering ATB Financial in Alberta. The objective is to become the bank of choice for the farmers in those areas.' Henk Adams, senior vice president Corporate Business Development NorthAmerica, Rabobank International Rabobank Nederland's product/market entities (PMEs) are responsi ble for developing and processing banking products such as savings, loans, funds transfers, investments and securities transactions. At present, their focus is almost completely on serving the local banks. In order to support Rabobank Group's market leadership ambition, it might be desirable for these production businesses also to perform activities for third parties on a selective basis, for exam ple if the existing distribution channels within Rabobank Group should yield insufficient economies of scale. In this context, multi- distribution might be another possibility. An example of insourcing of PME activities is processing securities orders for the Friesland Bank, which was started in the year under review. The distribution of financial products and services through other channels, complementary to the services of the local Rabobanks, could also contribute to the attainment of market leadership. Local Rabobanks are and will be the Group's most important distribution format by far. Interesting and profitable client groups that are hard to reach via the Rabobank format could well be receptive to differ ent service concepts. Multi-distribution is also a response to chan ging market relations as a result of the emergence of broker chains, niche players and non-bank enterprises (such as supermarkets) that are selling financial services.The acquisition a few years ago of Effectenbank Stroeve and the acquisition of the online broker Alex, which was begun in late 2002, illustrate how Rabobank Group is responding to the possibilities offered by multi-distribution. Another example of this multi-distribution policy is the start of Obvion, the joint venture with ABP which sells mortgages via independent intermediaries. In the year under review, the lines along which multi-distribution may take place have been defined more clearly. Rules and conditions have been agreed with the local Rabobanks to prevent multi-distribution via subsidiaries,joint ven tures or PMEs from affecting their own activities. The consolidation in the European financial markets, which was pre dicted some time ago, again failed to take off in the year under review. No doubt, this is partly due to the weak economic condi tions in 2002. Once it gains momentum, however, this trend will not pass Rabobank Group by. Rabobank Group is not about to rush into things. Its priority is the effective execution of its market leadership strategy in the Netherlands.The best preparation for Europe lies in an even stron ger domestic market position. If we work hard on that, the Group will be a very attractive partner to parties abroad - once the con solidation trend has gained momentum. However, Rabobank Group intends to respond only to initiatives that would offer added value to its clients and that would best serve the interests of co-operative banking in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, Rabobank Group remains very active in the internatio nal market. In addition to the internationalisation via Rabobank

Rabobank Bronnenarchief

Annual Reports Rabobank | 2002 | | pagina 20