Strengthening our equity position
Synergy and co-operation
Strategy and policy 19
International, Robeco and De Lage Landen - something which has
been progressing for many years - the Group is also investing in
strength in international retail distribution.This is achieved by the
acquisition of smaller retail banks in developed markets with a
strong position in the agricultural sector and in rural areas. Our
country banking strategy, as it is called, has its origin in successful
acquisitions in Australia and New Zealand in the second half of the
nineteen nineties. More recent acquisitions are the Irish ACC Bank, in
2002, and the Valley Independent Bank (VIB), in California, in late
2002.The country banking strategy is now considered an important
strategic activity for growth.
In addition, we have started direct-bank initiatives outside the
Netherlands, which are increasing the value realisation of our exper
tise in virtual banking. It is in this context that the Internet bank
Rabobank.be was launched in Belgium in the autumn of 2002. We
are also aiming to increase our retail position in Belgium and
Germany by means of marketing via the border banks.
Strengthening our equity position is a prerequisite for the develop
ment of new (international) opportunities for growth. It is therefore
of prime importance that we earn a satisfactory profit so that we
can substantially increase our equity position through retained ear
nings. In the longer term, however, this will not be sufficient for the
Rabobank Group to achieve its ambition of market leadership.
Various ways are being studied to raise additional capital. In this
respect, particular consideration will be given to the role that the
members of the local Rabobanks can play as providers of capital
and to possible strategic partners. In the year under review, mem
bers made another strong contribution towards strengthening
equity via the purchase of new Rabobank Membership Certificates.
Rabobank Group's strength is determined by the value of mutual
relationships within the Group itself. Good synergy means co-opera
tion that results in the creation of value. In the year under review,a
great deal of effort was spent on the co-operation between all
Group entities in order to be able to offer the services and products
the client needs at the optimum price/quality ratio.
That co-operation is not only reflected in common product deve
lopment but also in the integration of processes and sales-enhan
cing advice as well as in fruitful dialogue to arrive at major policy
decisions and business processes. For Rabobank Nederland, the new
management structure, which was implemented in mid-2002, forms
a good basis for better co-operation between the local Rabobanks
and their umbrella co-operative, which is in the interest of the local
The choices made in the Strategic Framework clearly target further
First, quantitative growth in the sense of more clients, more mem
bers, higher turnover, better financial results and increased equity.
Secondly, qualitative growth in the sense of better-satisfied clients, a
larger and more variegated product range, more knowledge and
skills, better performance, greater member engagement and a more
efficient internal organisation.
Growth in quantity and quality is extremely important to achieving
the market leadership ambition underlying our Strategic
Framework. In order to remain a strong and vibrant organisation,
Rabobank Group has no choice but to grow its business.Clients are
becoming increasingly critical and demanding.The competition is
intensifying, both nationally and internationally. And in such an
environment the harsh law is:stagnation equals regression.