Chairman's foreword 2010 saw a fragile economic recovery. Following the deep recession of 2009, the Dutch economy started to grow again in 2010, albeit very slowly. Many of our corporate clients managed to restore their financial positions, but this unfortunately did not extend to late-cycle sectors such as construction and the durable consumer goods sector. Cautious consumer spending patterns in the Netherlands also held back the economic recovery. The slight economic recovery and higher levels of revenue at many of our corporate clients were reflected in trends in bad debt costs. Rabobank did not have to account for nearly as many value adjustments. The local Rabobanks performed well, and Rabobank International was a major contributor to profit, as were many of our subsidiaries. These results, combined with improved margins and strict cost control, made 2010 a good year for Rabobank from a financial perspective. Net profit rose by 26% to EUR 2,772 million. Much of this profit was used to strengthen equity so that we can carry on guaranteeing the continuity of our services. Rabobank pays a great deal of attention to customer care, providing sound, dependable services, creating simpler, more transparent products, being close to clients and building up trust in relations with clients. In 2010, these aspects of responsible banking continued to be implemented in our core activities. At retail banking, special attention was paid to making products more transparent, preventing financial problems at clients, and providing services to vulnerable groups. In addition, Rabobank drew up policy for responsible lending through which we can help make various sectors more sustainable. The financial crisis that reared its head by mid-2007 stirred up a deep public debate about the actions of financial institutions, and lessons have been learned since then. What is important at this point is that we show the public that these lessons have led to the necessary changes in the sector. This will help rebuild the reputation of banking. For this reason, the Banking Code was drafted, which endeavours to make banking practices better and more transparent. Rabobank wholeheartedly supports the Banking Code and implemented it vigorously in 2010. The economic recovery that began in 2010 is expected to level off somewhat during 2011. The slowdown in economic growth is due to a number of factors. First, the global recovery is weakening. This will have a direct impact on the Netherlands, with its open economy. In addition, the Dutch government will implement drastic spending cuts over the next few years, and there is still uncertainty regarding a number of matters, such as employment, purchasing power, house prices and pensions, which will continue to have an adverse effect on consumer confidence, and hence private consumption, in 2011 As far as the global economy is concerned, some of the problems that led to the credit crunch have still not been addressed properly.The US current account deficit remains substantial, while China is keeping the yuan exchange rate at a low level. Within Europe, major differences 2 Annual Report 2010 Rabobank Group

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Annual Reports Rabobank | 2010 | | pagina 3