Friesland Bank opts for merger with Rabobank

Friesland Bank opts for merger with Rabobank

Friesland Bank and Rabobank have reached agreement on the merger of Friesland Bank with Rabobank. For this purpose, Friesland Bank will initially become a 100% subsidiary of Rabobank Nederland. The merger of the customers, employees, branches and activities of Friesland Bank with the network of Local Member Rabobanks in the Netherlands will occur during a transition period. This gradual integration is expected to take approximately two years. The employment of the involved employees of Friesland Bank will be guaranteed throughout this period.

Background to the merger
Friesland Bank and Rabobank have reached agreement on the merger of Friesland Bank with Rabobank. For this purpose, Friesland Bank will initially become a 100% subsidiary of Rabobank Nederland. The merger of the customers, employees, branches and activities of Friesland Bank with the network of Local Member Rabobanks in the Netherlands will occur during a transition period. This gradual integration is expected to take approximately two years. The employment of the involved employees of FrieslandThe depth, nature and length of the current economic crisis affect both Friesland Bank and its customers. In connection with this crisis, Friesland Bank is also holding much more (expensive) liquidity than it would under normal market conditions. These developments are placing the results of Friesland Bank under pressure. This makes the realisation of the required strengthening of the capital base of Friesland Bank within a relatively short term, in accordance with the new Basel III rules, an uncertain factor. While Friesland Bank has been able to develop considerable support in the consumer and business markets and has operated extremely successfully within these markets in recent years, this does not sufficiently offset the combination of the aforementioned effects.

After conducting an in-depth strategic analysis, the Executive Board of Friesland Bank therefore concluded in the autumn of 2011 that striving for the continued independent existence of Friesland Bank is no longer responsible vis-à-vis its customers and employees. The Supervisory Board and Stichting Friesland Bank (Friesland Bank Foundation) support the conclusion of the Executive Board.

A series of alternatives for the future of Friesland Bank emerged from the aforementioned strategic analysis. They ranged from an alliance with one or more partners to a merger with an equal partner or integration into a larger organisation. Following exploratory talks with various potential partners, a merger with Rabobank turned out to be the best solution for Friesland Bank. The formal notification of the merger has now been submitted to the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa). The regulatory bodies (De Nederlandsche Bank [DNB] and the Netherlands Competition Authority [NMa] have – given the current circumstances – granted their permission for the immediate merger of Friesland Bank with Rabobank.

Prior to the merger with Rabobank, Friesland Bank decided in full consultation to pay dividend to the shareholder, the Stichting Friesland Bank. This dividend includes – in addition to cash and shares – items belonging to the Frisian Heritage, such as the art collection. In this way a proportion of the equity of Friesland Bank will remain with the Stichting Friesland Bank. This foundation will dedicate itself to supporting the economic, cultural and social development of the three northern provinces of the Netherlands.
Kees Beuving, Chairman of the Executive Board of Friesland Bank:

‛We have found an excellent partner in Rabobank, whereby we will be able to safeguard the interests of our customers and employees. Friesland Bank has in recent years been confronted with a combination and accumulation of negative factors. Despite all our bank’s positive developments, these negative developments make it impossible for Friesland Bank to have a sustainable continued independent existence. This is why, no matter how much it saddens us, we are today announcing the end of the independent Friesland Bank. This step is being taken in the interest of our customers and our employees. We are at the same time extremely pleased that we will be able to continue the provision of services to our customers as an integrated part of Rabobank.’
Piet Moerland, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Rabobank Group:

‛We are pleased that we can play a meaningful role in securing future-proof perspectives for the customers and employees of Friesland Bank. At the invitation of Friesland Bank, we have examined what this role might look like. We have also, in full consultation, reached the solution that we are presenting today: a gradual integration of Friesland Bank’s customers, employees, branches and activities into the Rabobank network. We will carry this out in close cooperation with the employees of Friesland Bank, whose jobs will be guaranteed during this transition period. Customers of Friesland Bank can naturally be assured that we will maintain the quality of the services at the high level to which they are accustomed.’

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