2 Rabobank Group Annual Report 2002
For Rabobank Group, 2002 was a turbulent year. It was turbulent
because economic growth virtually slowed down to a standstill and
stock exchanges deteriorated even further, with a series of corporate
scandals in the United States fuelling the flames. And it was also
turbulent owing to the various internal reorganisations and efficiency
drives and the changes at top management level.
Despite all this, 2002 was not a bad year for Rabobank Group.
Indeed, it is a year we may justifiably be proud of, given the difficult
The retail banking business performed better than in 2001. In spite
of the turbulent conditions in the financial markets, the result from
the wholesale banking business was likewise higher than a year
ago.The result from investment activities and asset management
was under severe pressure due to the unfavourable stock exchange
climate. The effects of this were more than offset by the contribution
from acquisitions in the United States. Results from lease activities
showed yet another handsome improvement. Results from insurance
activities clearly lagged behind, however. This was due especially to
the negative returns on the securities portfolio and to significantly
higher non-life charges.
In short, 2002 was a year of stable results, albeit at a lower level
than we are accustomed to.They were the fruits of the tremendous
effort and team spirit of our employees, for which I thank them. It
was also a year in which we reaped the first benefits of the efficiency
programmes started earlier.
For me, building on team spirit is one of the biggest challenges for
the years to come - team spirit, in the Executive Board, in senior
management and in the co-operation between Rabobank
Nederland, the local Rabobanks in the Netherlands and the Group
entities.Team spirit in all echelons of Rabobank Group is the key to
achieving market leadership throughout the financial services
sector in the Netherlands, which is the aspiration that underlies our
Strategic Framework.The latter was renewed in the year under
review and is the key to further bringing our house in order. Within
our refocused strategy, this is our first priority and demands streng
thening our selling power and continuing cost reduction efforts.
Results for 2002 reflect Rabobank Group's intrinsic power as the
largest provider of financial services in the Dutch market. This
power can be characterised by two core concepts: nearby and
diverse.Through the local Rabobanks, Rabobank Group has the
most finely meshed financial distribution network, both physical
and virtual, in the Netherlands. Through its subsidiaries, the Group
offers a highly variegated range of financial services and products.
This position nearby its broad customer base, in conjunction with
the great diversity of its activities, enables Rabobank Group to
achieve stable results, now and in the future, and thereby to continue
to respond to the ever changing needs of customers.