Strengthening our equity position Synergy and co-operation In conclusion 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 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 clients. The choices made in the Strategic Framework clearly target further growth. 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.

Rabobank Bronnenarchief

Annual Reports Rabobank | 2002 | | pagina 21