ABN AMRO

Dutch state-owned bank focused on social entrepreneurship and sustainability

#1171

Rank

$14.41B

MarketCap NL

NL Netherlands

Country

Summary

ABN AMRO Bank N.V. provides various banking products and services to retail, private, and business clients in the Netherlands and internationally. It operates through three segments: Personal & Business Banking, Wealth Management, and Corporate Banking. 

The company provides savings and deposit products; labelled residential mortgage products under the Florius brands; and consumer loans under the Alpha Credit Nederland, Credivance, Defam, Moneyou, and ABN AMRO brands. It also issues, promotes, manages, and processes credit cards; provides revolving credit card facilities and pension schemes, as well as consumer credit and mortgages; and life and non-life insurance products. 

In addition, it offers asset-based solutions, including working capital solutions, equipment leases and loans, and vendor lease services; private banking and wealth-management-related services; and derivatives and equity clearing services. ABN AMRO Bank N.V. was incorporated in 2009 and is headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands.


History

In 1824, King William I established the Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij a trading company to revive trade and financing of the Dutch East Indies and it would become one of the primary ancestors of ABN AMRO. The NHM merged with the Twentsche Bank in 1964, to form Algemene Bank Nederland. Also in 1964, the Amsterdamsche Bank, established in 1871, merged with the Rotterdamsche Bank, established in 1873, to form Amsterdamsche en Rotterdamsche Bank, known as AMRO Bank.

ABN and AMRO merger

On 22 September 1991, ABN and AMRO merged to form ABN AMRO. In 1993, two of its investment banking subsidiaries Bank Mees & Hope and Pierson, Heldring & Pierson merged in turn to form MeesPierson.

The two merged banks brought to ABN AMRO a large network of overseas companies and branches. From NHM, ABN owned a significant branch network in Asia and the Middle East, including the Saudi Hollandi Bank owned by the NHM Jeddah branch. Another, the Hollandsche Bank-Unie, which grew from the merger of the Hollandsche Bank Voor de Middellandsche Zee and the Hollandsche Zuid-Amerika Bank in 1933, gave ABN AMRO an extensive network of branches in South and Central America. In 1979, ABN expanded into North America with the acquisition of Chicago-based LaSalle National Bank.

After the 1991 merger, ABN AMRO continued to grow through a number of further acquisitions, including the 1996 purchase of suburban Detroit-based Standard Federal Bank followed five years later by the acquisition of its Detroit-based competitor Michigan National Bank which was rebranded as Standard Federal. In 2005, Standard Federal became LaSalle Bank Midwest to unite ABN AMRO's two banking networks in the U.S. In 1995, ABN AMRO purchased The Chicago Corporation, an American securities and commodities trading and clearing corporation. Other major acquisitions included the Brazilian bank Banco Real in 1998 and the Italian bank Antonveneta in 2006. It was also involved in the controversial acquisition of the Dutch local government mortgage and building development organisation, the Bouwfonds in 2000. ABN AMRO sold the Bouwfonds as a going concern in 2006.

In July 2006, Favonius Ventures, which was founded and headed by Roel Pieper, received all of the technology investments of ABN AMRO Capital which is the private equity business unit of ABN AMRO Bank N.V.

Mid-2000s weakness, acquisition and breakup

ABN AMRO had come to a crossroads in early 2005. The bank had still not come close to its own target of having a return on equity that would put it among the top five of its peer group, a target that the CEO, Rijkman Groenink had set upon his appointment in 2000. From 2000 until 2005, ABN AMRO's stock price stagnated. Financial results in 2006 added to concerns about the bank's future. Operating expenses increased at a greater rate than operating revenue, and the efficiency ratio deteriorated further to 69.9%. Non-performing loans increased considerably year on year by 192%. Net profits were only boosted by sustained asset sales. In 2006, research findings were publicly released regarding ABN AMRO Bank N.V.'s predecessors and connections to African slavery. An examination of 200 predecessors of ABN AMRO Bank N.V. founded before 1888, determined that some had connections to African slavery, either in the United States or elsewhere in the Americas. By 2007, ABN AMRO was the second-largest bank in the Netherlands and the eighth-largest in Europe by assets. At that time, the magazine The Banker and Fortune Global 500 placed it 15th in the list of the world's biggest banks and it had operations in 63 countries, with over 110,000 employees.

On 21 February 2007, The Children's Investment Fund Management hedge fund called to ask the Chairman of the Supervisory Board to actively investigate a merger, acquisition or breakup of ABN AMRO, stating that the current stock price did not reflect the true value of the underlying assets. TCI asked the chairman to put its request on the agenda of the annual shareholders' meeting to be held in April 2007. Events accelerated on 20 March 2007, when the British bank Barclays and ABN AMRO both confirmed they were in exclusive talks about a possible merger.

On 28 March 2007, ABN AMRO published the agenda for the shareholders' meeting of 2007. It included all items requested by TCI, but with the recommendation not to follow the request for a breakup of the company.

However, on 18 April, another British bank, the Royal Bank of Scotland contacted ABN AMRO to propose a deal in which a consortium of banks, including RBS, Belgium's Fortis, and Spain's Banco Santander Central Hispano would jointly bid for ABN AMRO and thereafter divide the components of the company among them. According to the proposed deal, RBS would receive ABN's United States operations, LaSalle, and ABN's wholesale operations; Banco Santander would take the Brazilian operations; and Fortis, the Dutch operations. The three banks set up a joint venture, RFS Holdings, to execute the transaction.

On 23 April, Barclays announced the proposed acquisition of ABN AMRO. The deal was valued at €67 billion and included the sale of LaSalle Bank to Bank of America for €21 billion. Two days later, the RBS-led consortium brought out its indicative offer, worth €72 billion, if ABN AMRO would abandon its sale of LaSalle Bank to Bank of America. During the shareholders' meeting the next day, approximately 68 percent of the shareholders voted in favour of the breakup as requested by TCI. The sale of LaSalle was seen as obstructive by many: as a way of blocking the RBS bid, which hinged on further access to the US markets, in order to expand on the success of the group's existing American brands, Citizens Bank and Charter One. On 3 May 2007, the Dutch Investors' Association, with the support of shareholders representing up to 20 percent of ABN's shares, took its case to the Dutch commercial court in Amsterdam, seeking an injunction against the LaSalle sale. The court ruled that the sale of LaSalle could not be viewed apart from the current merger talks of Barclays with ABN AMRO and that the ABN AMRO shareholders should be able to approve other possible merger/acquisition candidates in a general shareholder meeting.

However, in July 2007, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that Bank of America's acquisition of LaSalle Bank could proceed and Bank of America absorbed LaSalle effective 1 October 2007.

On 23 July 2007, Barclays raised its offer for ABN AMRO to €67.5bn, after securing investments from the governments of China and Singapore, but it was still short of the RBS consortium's offer. Barclay's revised bid was worth €35.73 a share — 4.3% more than its previous offer. The offer, which included 37% cash, remained below the €38.40-a-share offer made the week before by the RFS consortium. The revised offer did not include an offer for La Salle Bank since ABN AMRO could proceed with the sale of that subsidiary to Bank of America. RBS would now settle for ABN's investment-banking division and its Asian Network.

On 30 July 2007, ABN AMRO withdrew its support for Barclays' offer which was lower than the offer from the group led by RBS. While the Barclays offer matched ABN AMRO's "strategic vision," the board couldn't recommend it from "a financial point of view." The US$98.3bn bid from RBS, Fortis and Banco Santander were 9.8% higher than Barclays' offer.

Barclays Bank withdrew its bid for ABN AMRO on 5 October, clearing the way for the RBS-led consortium's bid to go through, along with its planned dismemberment of ABN AMRO. RFS formally acquired ABN AMRO on 17 October 2007. Fortis would receive ABN AMRO's Dutch and Belgian operations, Banco Santander would get Banco Real in Brazil, and Banca Antonveneta in Italy and RBS would get ABN AMRO's wholesale division and all other operations, including those in Asia.

2008 financial crisis

Both RBS and Fortis were increasingly visibly overextended following the ABN AMRO acquisition. On 22 April 2008, RBS announced the largest rights issue in British corporate history, which aimed to raise £ 12 billion in new capital to offset a writedown of £5.9billion resulting from the bad investments and to shore up its reserves following the purchase of ABN AMRO. On 11 July 2008, Fortis CEO Jean Votron stepped down after the ABN AMRO deal had depleted Fortis's capital. The total worth of Fortis, as reflected by its stock value, was at that time one-third of what it had been before the acquisition, and just under the value it had paid for the Benelux activities of ABN AMRO.On 3 October 2008, Fortis was nationalised. T

he Dutch government bought a number of Fortis divisions plus Fortis's share in ABN AMRO for EUR 16.8 billion. It subsequently announced that the parts of ABN AMRO it had acquired would be integrated with Fortis Bank Nederland to create a new ABN AMRO. On 13 October 2008, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced a UK government bailout of the financial system. The Treasury would infuse £37 billion of new capital into Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Lloyds TSB and HBOS Plc, to avert financial sector collapse. This resulted in total government ownership in RBS of 58%. As a consequence of this rescue, the chief executive of the group Fred Goodwin offered his resignation, which was duly accepted. Later in October, Fortis announced that it would sell its stake in RFS Holdings, which included all activities that had not been transferred yet to Fortis.

Disposals outside of the Netherlands

In 2008, RFS Holdings completed the sale of a portfolio of private equity interests in 32 European companies managed by AAC Capital Partners to a consortium comprising Goldman Sachs, AlpInvest Partners and the Canada Pension Plan for $1.5 billion through a private equity secondary market transaction. In September 2009, RBS rebranded Morgan's share-dealing business in Australia as RBS Morgans. This followed the rebranding of the ABN AMRO Australia unit to RBS Australia in March of that year. On 10 February 2010, RBS announced that branches it owned in India and the United Arab Emirates were to be rebranded under its name. HSBC Holdings said it would buy the Indian retail and commercial banking businesses of Royal Bank of Scotland for $1.8bn, however, the deal fell through in December 2012. The operations owned by Santander, notably those in Italy and Brazil, were merged with Santander, sold or eliminated.

Dutch operations restructuring

The Dutch government had obtained full control of all Fortis operations in the Netherlands, including those parts of ABN-AMRO then belonging to Fortis, at a price of €16.8bn. The government and the De Nederlandsche Bank president have announced the merger of Dutch Fortis and ABN AMRO parts will proceed while the bank is in state ownership. This was completed in July 2010 when Fortis operations in the Netherlands were rebranded ABN AMRO.In November 2008, a Belgian court dismissed a suit by shareholders of Fortis objecting to the Belgian government's handling of the Fortis/ABN AMRO transaction and subsequent break-up. 

The Dutch government appointed former Dutch finance minister Gerrit Zalm as CEO to restructure and stabilise the bank, and in February 2010 the assets it owned were legally demerged from those owned by RBS. This demerger created two separate organisations, ABN AMRO Bank N.V. and The Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. The former was merged with ABN AMRO Private Banking, Fortis Bank Nederland, the private bank MeesPierson and the diamond bank International Diamond & Jewelry Group to create ABN AMRO Group N.V., with the Fortis name being dropped on 1 July 2010. The remaining parts of the original ABN AMRO still owned by The Royal Bank of Scotland N.V., meanwhile, were renamed, sold or closed. As part of the agreement with the European Commission on state aid in the restructuring, ABN AMRO sold Hollandsche Bank-Unie to Deutsche Bank in April 2010 together with another subsidiary, IFN Finance.

Post-restructuring history

ABN AMRO acquired the specialist online mortgage provider Direktbank Hypotheken as part of the nationalisation and from 1 January 2011, it stopped selling these products under this brand to the public. It absorbed the mortgage business into its own products under the ABN AMRO brand as well as the Florius brand. In November 2020, ABN Amro announced it would cut 2800 jobs and sell its head offices as a plan to reduce costs, hoping to save €700 million by 2024.


Mission

“In 2017, we launched our bank-wide Mission 2030 ambition, to facilitate that the homes and offices that we help finance and the properties that we use together average a performance of energy label A by 2030.”


Vision

“Our vision is to be the best-in-class in customer service, innovative solutions and sustainable value.”


Key Team

Mr. Dan Dorner (Chief Commercial Officer of Corp. Banking & Member of Exec. Board)

Mr. Robert Swaak (CEO & Chairman of Exec. Board)

Mr. Ferdinand Vaandrager (Head of Investor Relations)

Ms. Annerie Vreugdenhil (Chief Commercial Officer of Personal & Bus. Banking & Member of Exec. Board)

Ms. Hanneke Dorsman (Gen. Counsel & Company Sec.)

Mr. Hugo Peek (Regional Head of EMEA for Corp. & Institutional Banking)

Jeroen van Maarschalkerweerd (Head of Media Relations & PR)


Recognition and Awards
ABN AMRO has been recognized for its commitment to sustainability, diversity and employee engagement. In 2018, ABN AMRO was ranked first in the world by The EcoVadis sustainability index and fourth in the ‘World’s Most Ethical Companies’ by Ethisphere Magazine. Additionally, ABN AMRO was awarded the Workplace Pride ‘Employer of the Year’ I 2018, a recognition of its commitment to ensure a workplace that is safe, free from discrimination and open to all.

References
ABN AMRO
Leadership team

Mr. Lars Kramer (CFO & Vice Chairman of Exec. Board)

Ms. Tanja J. A. M. Cuppen (Chief Risk Officer & Member of the Exec. Board)

Ms. Choy van der Hooft-Cheong (Chief Commercial Officer Wealth Management & Member of Exec. Board)

Products/ Services
Banking, Finance, Financial Services, Impact Investing
Number of Employees
20,000 - 50,000
Headquarters
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, The Netherlands
Established
1991
Net Income
1B - 20B
Revenue
Above - 1B
Traded as
ABN.AS
Social Media
Sat Mar 02 2024
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