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Retail Banking

in Todays World
puts the customer
centre stage
Frans and Eefje help out
REPORT
OPERATION
More responsibility
for the branches
PRIVATE BANKING
ABN AMRO MeesPierson
wins Euromoney Award
INTEGRATION
Were only at the
halfway mark
Jim Kras, head of Marketing Intelligence, working
with hypothetical customers Frans and Eefe
trusted | professional | ambitious
+
Supplement
private banking
international
1
Staf magazine
Volume 2
February 2011
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For the past few months, Bert Kreijen, a silversmith, has been busy making the winners trophies for the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament
one for the winner of the singles match and two for the winners of the doubles. The other nalists will receive a smaller version of the prize,
and the craftsman is also creating silver plates for the wheelchair tournament in his studio. The plates are made of brass with a thick layer of
high-gloss silver. The hardest part is engraving the banks logo on the bottom, as the severe heat can distort the plates. Bert has made 70
trophies since 1991, 69 of which were prizes and one of which is exhibited in the Amsterdam Arena stadium. I was never a good tennis
player myself, but my wife and I enjoy watching the WTT. ABN AMRO has sponsored the WTT for the past 38 years and will receive upwards
of 17,000 customers at this years tournament. The WTT is one of the biggest indoor tennis tournaments in the world.
Hammering away at
the tennis trophies for months
picture gallery 2
STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011
3
1
February 2011
Youve probably noticed that the
cover bears a new title Today
instead of the old one, Forward
Focus, the title used for the
integration media. In fact, this
publication started out in paper
form as part of Bankbreed and
Bank in Business and as an
independent integration site on
the intranet. Now that the new
intranet and the new magazine
have been launched, now that
were already past the halfway
point of the integration and
most importantly now that
the bank is growing again, were
saying goodbye to the title
Forward Focus.
Today reects the banks
new positioning. At todays
bank, were busy simplifying
processes, devolving responsi-
bility downwards in the organi-
sation and rening the broad
outline. Retail Banking has also
launched an ambitious pro-
gramme to overhaul the entire
Retail organisation, effectively
turning it into todays bank.
Weve already achieved
successes. ABN AMRO
MeesPierson, the new private
bank, has won the 2011
Euromoney Award. And with
the creation of the Maritime
Cluster, weve taken a major
step towards becoming the
leading maritime bank in the
Netherlands. ABN AMRO
Consumer Finance and Interna-
tional Card Services have been
successfully combined, which
means were set to become the
undisputed market leader next
year in credit cards.
The editorial staff certainly
havent been sitting around
twiddling their thumbs either.
Starting with this issue, were
introducing supplements for
Retail and Commercial &
Merchant Banking, thereby
taking the next step towards
establishing a comprehensive,
customer-oriented media mix.
Jeroen Kraakman
Head of Internal Media
Today
What else?
4 Ofce life / Home life
6 Advertising: Escrow &
Settlement, Rotterdam
and London
7 Analysis: A country can
choose for itself to leave
the eurozone
12 Column Caroline
Princen: Beehive
12 Hey, hows it going?
26 Odds & Ends
27 Kindred spirits:
A world of diference
8
The ABC of
A for Ambition
Rening the
current strategy
10
Private bank
captures award
ABN AMRO MeesPierson
wins Euromoney Award
18
The rst halfs
over, the second
has only just
begun
Were halfway through
the integration
13
20
OPERATION
More
responsibility for
the branches
REPORT
Retail Banking in Todays World
Lending and mortgage
processes revamped
New programme puts the customer centre stage
CONTENTS
TODAY IS AN INTERNAL PUBLICATION OF ABN AMRO AND IS PRODUCED BY COMMUNICATIONS & BRANDING
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jeroen Kraakman
FINAL EDITING Paul Q. de Vries, Hanneke Wijnker
EDITORIAL TEAM Marijke Bakker, Joost Bruins, Anja Kous,
Claudia Lopes Marante, Mike Rietvelt, Andr Westerveld
TRANSLATION Merilee Dranow, Steve Coffey, Josh Dillon,
Anita Graaand, Willemien Kneppelhout
PHOTOGRAPHY Monique Beers and Margot Oudshoorn
PRODUCTION Margot Oudshoorn
STAFF Suzanne Corsetto, Kees-Jan Dijkstra, Paul Groothengel
CONCEPT Maters & Hermsen ART DIRECTION & DESIGN
Maters & Hermsen Vormgeving (Jelle Hoogendam) and Martin Raven
LITHOGRAPHY Mark Boon PRINTING SUPPORT Kobalt BV
PRINTER Roto Smeets Graservices, Utrecht
EDITORIAL ADDRESS Communications & Branding, Today Editorial Team,
PAC HQ9143, P.O. Box 283, 1000 EA Amsterdam. Lotus Notes: Today, email:
blikvooruit@nl.abnamro.com, Tel. +31(0)20-6296945, Fax +31(0)20-6294639
DISTRIBUTION Today is distributed by Regional Postkamer Amsterdam (RPK). If you
have not received enough copies of Today or wish to inform us of a change of address,
please send an email to verzending.blikvooruit@nl.abnamro.com. Please return incorrectly
delivered consignments by internal post to PAC AX0000, stating the details.
Any use of all or part of the contents of this publication in any form whatsoever including
duplication, reproduction, distribution or republication without the prior written permission of
ABN AMRO (Communications & Branding) is prohibited.
offce life 4
STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011
MY VIEW Water becomes sand
Location: 3rd oor of the A tower,
Head Ofce, Gustav Mahlerlaan Amsterdam
Whose view: Marille van der Molen,
business operating ofcer, Risk Management
Knowledge and Training
When I started here ten years ago, I had to trudge
through the mud to enter the building. Now that the pond
in front of the building has been partially lled in to make
way for the expansion of Amsterdam South Station, Im
again looking out on a patch of sand. It really affects me.
If you have to sit indoors all day, its nice to see at least a
little bit of nature. I started on the nineteenth oor, where
I had an incredibly beautiful view across the city, but here
I can keep an eye on the birds and sh. There are
enormous carps in the pond! In the spring I follow the
ducks and the coots with their lovely red baby heads.
And then theres the family: every day I count the chicks
because for species like the heron they are welcome
prey. Ive even bought a bird watchers book so I can
recognise the different species more easily. P
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A customer of mine once gave me a miniature
Zen garden, which the department has since adopted.
I regularly see colleagues raking the garden, especially
when theyre on the phone. It gives you peace of mind and
thats the idea behind working in a Zen garden. It makes a
change from mindlessly doodling people or houses while
youre on the phone.
Jasper Verdoold, account manager,
Pension Services
DEALING WITH
Smoking
areas
Its true, theyre making it
harder and harder for us to have a
quick smoke, say Martin van der Rijt
and Etienne van Diermen, after closure
of the designated indoor smoking
areas at head ofce on Amsterdams
Foppingadreef. Ive started smoking
less because of it. I dont fancy walk-
ing all the way to the smoking area
outside every time, says Etienne.
Martin nods in agreement: So
you plan your smoking breaks
better. In the morning, before
I start the day, I have a
quick smoke, then I go
downstairs once
mid-morning; I smoke
a cigarette during my lunch
break and then one more mid-afternoon. Thats how I get through the
day. No reprimanding looks from co-workers? Martin: Not that Ive
noticed. Were only gone for ten minutes max its pretty chilly out there.
Theres a good chance the outdoor smoking areas will be more popular
in the summer.
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5 home life
STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011
A surprising collaboration
between Jan Raes, project
manager at COO Functions, and
complaints manager Hans
Monster resulted in a childrens
book called De avonturen van Gus
de Mus (The adventures of Gus
the Sparrow). Hans: Id always
wanted to write a childrens book
and Jan needed text for his
drawings. To buy the book, visit
www.janraes.com/gusdemus.
Gus the Sparrow
childrens book
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CHECK IT OUT!
WHAT
mum does
I think my mother has an important job.
She has a day off today, but at the
weekend shes often away because of her
work. She organises shows and parties at
ABN AMRO and goes to football matches.
Sometimes Im allowed to go with her to
watch an Ajax game, if there are spare
tickets. Its nice, but I dont think I want to
do the same work when I grow up. Id
rather be a cook.
Eva, 8 years old, is the daughter of
Lisa Gigante, event manager at Local
Marketing & Events.
MORNING
Ritual
For a stress-free start to the day, I leave home at 6.20 am
so I can cross the Bosphorus Bridge before trafc gets
too heavy. I typically stop at my favourite caf near the
Bosphorus Strait to nurture body, mind and spirit.
Enjoying a healthy breakfast, I watch the boats and birds
perform their own rituals and read my book against the
backdrop of a wonderful landscape getting ready for a
peaceful and productive day.
Aysun Krmolu
Client Relations and Sales Director, Istan-
bul
Date: 13 January
Time: 7.39 am
Location: Caf near the Bosphorus Strait
advertising 6
STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011
Escrow is a word that needs no dening,
say the members of the Escrow & Settle-
ment team. Their customers know that they
are dedicated to deliver. Its no coincidence
that ABN AMRO ranks among the top
three escrow banks worldwide in terms of
turnover. For those of you who dont know
what escrow is, it refers to property or
money held by a third party until the agreed
upon obligations of a contract are met.
Lout Lapidaire, Iris van Ravestijn, Paul
Timmermans and Caspar Huith are
available at www.abnamro.nl/escrow or
on +31 (0)10-401 58 56.
Escrow & Settlement, Rotterdam and London
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7 analysis
STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011
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Rules for the euro not enough to solve problems
Defaulters on government bonds not a problem for
ABN AMRO yet
A
t the heart of the euro crisis are the government decits
which have recently ballooned in several eurozone
countries. Han de Jong, Head of ABN AMRO Group
Economics, says, In Greece, the eruption occurred in May
when the country could no longer borrow at acceptable
interest rates and had to avail itself of European and IMF aid.
Later the same thing happened to Ireland. Portugal and Spain
are now also facing considerably higher interest rates.
No provision
Every conceivable solution to these countries debt problems
afects the euro. Han says there are three ways to get out of
debt. Countries can introduce austerity measures to reduce
public expenditure, and that hurts. Another way is to stop re-
paying government bond holders, which are often banks and
pension funds in and outside the country in question. At that
point, the country is essentially bankrupt. Lastly, a country can
devalue its currency to stimulate economic growth. Its less
painful getting out of debt through growth than through cost-
cutting measures. Theres just one problem, though: eurozone
countries cant devalue their currency. In that case, a country
could decide to leave the eurozone and reintroduce its own
currency, but thats a giant leap in the dark.
No provision has been made for the possibility of a country
leaving the eurozone. But if a country were to take such a
decision, it would be difcult to stop it, says Han. That would
set a precedent, creating a system in which countries could
The European nancial markets are
lurching from crisis to crisis, the latest
being the euro crisis. What exactly is
going on? And what effects have there
been for ABN AMRO?
A country can
choose for itself to
leave the eurozone
efectively join and leave the eurozone as they pleased. This
would ultimately undermine stability the very reason the
euro was created in the rst place. In retrospect, you could say
that the rules established for the euro are not adequate for
preventing problems like the ones were seeing now.
Crisis to blow over?
Why, in fact, do banks hold government bonds issued by other
countries like Greece and Ireland in their portfolios? Han says,
One function of government bonds is that they contribute to a
banks liquidity bufer. Banks always have to be able to give
their customers their money back, so they need to keep those
funds in reserve. You could just put that cash in a safe, but it
wont generate a prot there. Or you could invest in govern-
ment bonds and use those as collateral to secure a loan from
the Dutch central bank, De Nederlandsche Bank. DNB sets re-
quirements on the quality of that collateral, and Irish and
Greek government bonds met those criteria.
ABN AMRO, too, has Greek and Irish government bonds.
We reported that we held a total of EUR 1.5 million in direct
and indirect balances payable by the Greek and Irish
governments at the end of the third quarter of 2010. But we
fully expect that those payment obligations will be met, Han
says. Han is optimistic about the outcome of the crisis. I dont
think the problem countries will default on repayments,
especially within a timeframe of about two years. Im not
expecting any unpleasant surprises. Actually, I reckon the euro
crisis will just blow over.
strategy 8
text Joost Bruins
illustration Moker Ontwerp
9 strategy
STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011
A
for Ambition isnt a new strategy; were
not suddenly changing course. Were still a
bank that has its roots in the Netherlands,
follows its customers abroad and is active in a
number of interesting niche markets. Our way of
doing business trusted, professional and ambitious
and our positioning (the Anno Nu campaigns, for
example) arent changing either.
Our own future
A for Ambition is about rening our current
strategy. The aim is to make ABN AMRO at least
as customer-oriented and efcient as our direct
competition. We must be a bank that truly puts the
customer rst, providing fast, efcient and awless
service. ABN AMRO also aims to be a bank that gets
excellent results and, in terms of fees, is on a par with
its rivals. Only then will there be greater scope for
investment and, more importantly, only then will we
be able to chart our own course.
Looking ahead
The broad outline describes how we are to become
a single, strong and integrated bank by 2012. It also
describes what kind of culture the new organisation
should have. Were well under way with the integra-
tion. Retail, a portion of the Enterprises customer
base and many head ofce departments are now
fully integrated. Customer migrations are scheduled
to follow this year at Private Banking, plus the
remaining C&MB clients and a portion of TOPS.
A for Ambition hasnt come too soon, since 2012
is just around the corner. Thats why its important
for us to look ahead now, both from the customers
perspective and from a nancial perspective. Are we
making the right strategic choices? Yes, but if we
want to achieve our goals, we have to become more
efcient. Its not enough just continuing on as we are.
Picking up the pace
So its not about a break with the past. Well still be
forging ahead on the same path because were doing
the right things. Well just be picking up the pace.
In 2011, were starting with quick wins, which are
already making themselves felt. With the Retail
programme Particulieren Anno Nu (Retail Banking in
Todays World) and Enterprises Ruimte om te
ondernemen (Scope to Innovate), were putting the
customer rst, right in line with A for Ambition.
And, as part of its Customer Excellence programme,
TOPS is examining processes and procedures.
All the plans and suggestions for improvements
have been dened and reviewed over the last few
months. The Managing Board is expected to ratify
the plans in the spring, after which they will be
carried out step by step and concluded in 2014.
Of course it is our shareholder, the Dutch State,
which ultimately determines our future. But we
ourselves are responsible for building the strongest
possible basis of operation. For more information,
keep checking the announcements published on the
intranet.
The ABC of
A for Ambition
Rening the broad outline, benchmark date and from bank logic
to customer logic are all about the A for Ambition strategy.
By now, everyone at the bank has heard of it or read about it on
the intranet. So how do things stand now?
Were making the right strategic choices, but if we want
to achieve our goals we have to become more efcient.
private banking 10
STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011
Private bank wins award
EUROMONEY AWARD
The award is an initiative of the leading nan-
cial publication Euromoney Magazine. In the
annual Euromoney Private Banking and
Wealth Management Survey, private banks
themselves nominate who they believe
provides the best service in the area of
private banking. During the last seven years,
MeesPierson and ABN AMRO Private Banking
also won this award in succession.
Only just launched, Private
Banking is already up for
an award: ABN AMRO
MeesPierson has won the 2011
Euromoney Award for the Best
Private Bank in the Netherlands.
C
EO Frans van Lanschot is proud,
and for good reason: despite the
integration upheaval, his private
bank has successfully maintained its
award-winning level of service. Its a
tremendous compliment for the bank
and for all the members of staf. Its also a
good springboard for us to develop our
role as trusted advisor to our clients. The
principle of the trusted advisor is central
to our strategy. You know youre a trusted
advisor to your clients when youre the
one they phone with nancial questions.
But this is a role you can play only if
youve got everything in order, and that
includes the execution of tasks, a
satisfactory response rate to questions
and a good range of products and
services. Your staf also need to possess
all the knowledge and skills necessary to
win clients trust.
And this is the immediate focus: in the
next year and a half, a select group of staf
will be completing a certication pro-
gramme developed jointly with the
French business school INSEAD (see
the next page for more information).
Segmentation
Not only is the role of trusted advisor
integral to the Private Banking strategy,
but the business line is also placing a
premium on client segmentation based
on its customers needs and prole. Of
course, both banks were already doing
this, but were placing a much greater
emphasis on this aspect, says Frans. We
have Institutions & Charities and Private
Wealth Management for clients with
assets exceeding EUR 25 million and
Family Money for clients who have
inherited wealth. And theres a much
greater focus on entrepreneurs and
business owners, who, sooner or later,
will be facing the issue of business
handover. We aim to be their single most
important advisor at that point.
Discussing changes
Clients are aware that a system
integration is now also in the pipeline.
Frans says, Were keeping them well
informed. That integration should be
completed by 11 November. Its not just
any ordinary integration either because
large parts of the commercial bank are
also on the same system. By the summer,
everything should be ready for testing.
The integration will require a lot from
those working at the branches, since
private bankers will have to personally
discuss with their clients all the changes
afecting them. When you realise that a
lot will be changing for MeesPierson
clients, for example, you can appreciate
that its going to be a very big job.
Cooperation
At the bank, Frans is seeing the return of
a spirit of ambition. He says, Last year,
the businesses were fairly focused on
themselves, which isnt surprising. But
thats changing. Our main aim now is to
make sure our customers and by that I
mean all the banks customers are in the
right place for them. That means, where
necessary and following internal
consultation, introducing clients to
another business or transferring them to
another department. Only then will we
really be putting the client rst. That
kind of cooperation has to become
second nature. T
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The principle of
the trusted advisor
is the core of our
strategy
Frans van Lanschot
11 private banking
STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011
Knowledge is condence
This year and next,
Private Banking will send a
select group of employees
from across the globe to
INSEAD, the renowned
business school, to make
them even better bankers.
The bar is high: the private
bank wants to be a trusted
advisor to its clients.
To get there, private
bankers need a lot of
knowledge and expertise.
The INSEAD programme
was put to the test this
past January.
Y
ou dont become a trusted advisor
overnight, according to Hein
van der Loo, member of the
ABN AMRO MeesPierson management
team and programme director. You
become a trusted advisor once you have
established a professional relationship
based on trust. For that relationship to
grow, you need to have in-depth knowl-
edge and knowledge is condence.
Thats why all our staf will go to
Fountainebleau, France to attend this
mandatory certication programme.
International
Hein lists a few reasons why Private
Banking decided to work with INSEAD.
We are an international private bank, so
we need an international programme.
INSEAD ofers that and has the best
international teachers. We developed the
programme together, based on our needs.
So we put together a good balance
between theory and the skills our staf
need.
This past January, a group of 35
employees from ten countries tested
and evaluated the rst module of the
programme. Hein believes they did an
excellent job. They were constructively
critical, and well incorporate their
comments into the nal version of the
programme.
Commitment
Bart van Kessel (Private Wealth
Management, Amsterdam) was one of the
participants: It was four days of really
hard work. Long days, Saturday too but
it was denitely worth it. Write this down:
it was really good fun. The programme
does require a big commitment, though.
You need to do a lot of preparatory work
and a lot of reading, and theres an exam at
the end. You get a deeper understanding
of the material during the training course.
Our clients expect us to say something
intelligent about macroeconomics, for
example, or asset management, so we
need to have the right expertise and you
certainly get that in this course. I was par-
ticularly interested in the family business
module. PWM clients have quite a lot of
money, and that requires the same know-
how you need when advising a business.
The power of a network
The fact that the group was international
really added value for Bart. An extensive
international network is crucial; you can
use it to help your clients. We arent aware
enough of the power of strong teamwork
across borders. He does point out an
issue that needs improvement: The
course covers academic-level material.
We now have to put this knowledge into
practice efectively.
Real-life situations
Evelyn Cheah (Private Banking Interna-
tional, Singapore) travelled 14 hours to get
to Fontainebleau. She, too, was enthusias-
tic about the fact that INSEAD is an
international institute: It doesnt
happen often, but if a client needs help
abroad, I know who to go to. Only now
do I see how large our network is. Like
Bart, I was most interested in the family
business module it was very practical
and inspiring. The rest was much more
theoretical. An even better link will
be made with real-life situations. The
course denitely requires a lot of
preparation. Otherwise its hard to
make a useful contribution to the case
discussions.
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STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011 column hey, hows it going? 12
Do you still give up your Christmas holiday to
devote time to the ABN AMRO Cabaret?
Elly G. Smits, supervisor at the Preferred Banking
line, CCC Almere: Yes. I still tell them Ill do
whatever they want me to do. This year I arranged
the coordination of the hosts, looking for volunteers
and handling the logistical process during the
performances. Its very special to witness at rst
hand what your colleagues can accomplish in a short
time.
Do you still run marathons, or dont you have time
now that youre a dad?
Emiel de Roover, district director at Retail: I still
take part in the ABN AMRO Business Run every
year. Even though baby number 3 is on the way I try
to run three semi-marathons each year. My goal is to
run a full marathon before my 42nd birthday, in New
York for example. Its a familiar feeling to be
working alongside each other again after all these
years.
Do you still get dressed up to go to World Cup or
European Championship matches?
Rob Almering, regional director at Enterprises in the
southern region of the Netherlands:
The last time was during the 2006
World Cup in Germany. We were
very prominent during the
Argentina-Mexico game: in
bright orange with long fancy
dress between all those blue
and green supporters.
It was one big party,
and everybody
wanted to photo-
graph us. Unlike
you, I didnt
manage to
get tickets
for the
last
World
Cup.
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Beehive
Even though the year has only just begun its a good
idea to look back, particularly because 2010 was an
exceptionally intensive year. It was a year with a
separation, a merger and the integration. It was a
year of coming together and of uncertainty, a year of relocations and
of new colleagues. Enormous progress has been made in terms of
customer migration, ofce space, systems and resourcing. It is
precisely because so much has happened and that we are pressing
ahead together to build a new bank that we tend to forget that
one-third of the bank population remains in uncertainty. And that
hurts. On the one hand, people are working with renewed vigour
and eagerness on the future, on continuity and on the new culture.
On the other hand, an awful lot of colleagues still do not know what
their future at the bank holds for them.
This is reected in the Mood Monitor. We see that some
employees do not yet feel at home in the new house. There is a
task here for management, but equally it is a job for all of us. Id
make this analogy: if you get new occupants in your house, you
have to show them around. You cant simply leave people to nd out
on their own how everything works. I believe this holds true for fairly
basic matters like how to apply for an ID card or a parking space,
what the commuting times are and how the systems work.
Somebody recently made an illustrative comparison. She said she
felt like a bee that had strayed into a new beehive. Despite a hives
complex structure she previously knew exactly how to y and
where to deliver honey. But in the new hive she knew absolutely
nothing, and the other bees were too busy to explain things to her.
I believe it is possible to resolve such irritations by having
facebooks and clear organisation charts on the intranet. A good
example of how you can make somebody feel at home is the way
the Benet Shop has been presented. All staff received a book that
clearly explains everything step by step. Another idea is to use
buddies, or couples that show each other the ropes. Lets not
assume that everybody automatically knows everything.
Obviously the new occupants must also do their own exploring
it has to be a joint effort. Keep asking questions, dont take no
for an answer and familiarise yourself with the new bank. I am
convinced that this kind of attitude will eventually lead to a house
where everything runs in good harmony.
Caroline Princen
Member of the Managing Board
Marcel Loot
After his traineeship he began his
career as senior Retail counter clerk in
Bussum. Numerous other positions
followed at various places. Today, 25
years down the road, Marcel Loot is
back where he started: at Bussum, this
time as director of Private Banking.
He has some questions for his former
colleagues at head ofce.

REPORT
Retail Banking
in Todays
World
R
HOW AND
WHAT
SIX QUESTIONS
ABOUT RETAIL
BANKING IN
TODAYS WORLD

PAULUS
DE WILT

WERE TACKLING
ISSUES SIMULTA-
NEOUSLY ON
SEVERAL FRONTS

WHAT IT ALL
MEANS FOR

... MARKETING,
STAFF, CHANNELS,
PRODUCTS, AND
PROCESSES


+
MEET FRANS
AND EEFJE

text Paul Groothengel
photos Hans van den Heuvel
RETAIL BANKING IN TODAYS WORLD
14
R
Six questions
about Retail
Banking
1
What is Retail Banking in
Todays World all about?
Its about simplifying our standard
package of services to retail
customers and making things easier for
staf. Our goal is to raise and maintain
high levels of customer satisfaction.
2
Why is this project being
launched now?
With so much of our eforts being
focused on the integration in the
past year, we werent always able to put
customers centre stage at all times. As a
result, ABN AMRO now slightly lags oth-
er banks in customer satisfaction. So
weve got our work cut out for us.
Thats reason number one. In addition,
todays consumers are becoming
increasingly critical. They want to do
more themselves, and they switch more
readily to another bank. So we need to
constantly update our ofering, including
our regular and mobile internet services.
Whereas mobile payment used to be
something special, todays customers
view it as a perfectly normal way to
conduct their banking business.
3
How exactly does Retail
Banking in Todays World work?
There are ve main focus areas:
products, processes, channels,
staf and marketing. We are working
towards creating a straightforward range
of products, with brochures, agreements,
letters to customers and ofers being
written and re-written in plain,
comprehensible language. We are also
simplifying processes and making them
more efcient and error-free. Staf,
meanwhile, are being given the power to
help customers directly, with fewer
referrals necessary. Plus the bank wants
to create a fully-edged mobile channel,
with apps for all telephones, and intends
to allow customers to purchase more and
more products and services online.
Late last year saw the launch of Retail Banking Anno
Nu (loosely translated as Retail Banking in Todays
World), the project that aims to put the customer
centre stage. How? By innovating, using plain
language and offering attractive products and
involving staff in the process.
MEET FRANS
AND EEFJE
This is Frans and Eefje. Frans is a
long-standing Preferred Banking client,
while Eefje is an ambitious go-getter in
her twenties. Now permanent xtures at
management meetings, these two
hypothetical customers were created to
represent all the banks clients, ranging
from students to small business owners
and from working mothers to
homebuyers. It was marketing expert
Klaas Niewold who hit on the idea of the
cardboard cutouts, a response to the fact
that managers at head ofces are good
at making plans but that theres never a
customer around to see if those plans
will actually benet them. Frans and Eefje
are a reminder to us that the customer
comes rst. Thats why you may have
recently heard people saying things like,
Well, thats what you think, but what
would Frans and Eefje say?
HOW AND WHY
Thats the number of processes
analysed over the last few months
as part of a new Retail Banking
initiative to assess whether
processes can be better, faster and
more efcient. One hundred top-
priority processes involving both
customers and staff have been se-
lected and distributed over process
chains such as Credits, Cash &
Cards and Wealth.
474
THE NUMBER

STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011 15
4
How will this project afect
staf?
The bank will take the rst
concrete steps in the rst quarter
of 2011, for example by expanding the
branches authority to approve exible
mortgage credit. Well also be making it
easier for people to become customers
and will relax the obligation to provide
ID. Customer data will be made
consistent and the lead management
system more user-friendly. And more
payment functionalities will be made
available on popular mobile platforms,
such as the iPhone, iPad, Android and
BlackBerry. Thats just a sampling of the
changes we aim to make this year.
5
How quickly will Retail Banking
achieve these goals?
We started this project at the end
of 2010 and aim to complete it
within two years. The rst results should
be visible in the rst half of this year.
6
Will staf be able to give
their input?
Absolutely. They know best from
their day-to-day work how certain
processes work and how customers
experience them. A total of ten practice
grounds have been created throughout
the Netherlands where branch and CCC
staf can devise and test improvements.
Weve also set up an employee panel with
more than one hundred members of staf
from the branches and the CCC who give
input and feedback on a regular basis.
Staf can also discuss the plans and make
suggestions in the online community,
Arena, and an online survey has been
held among staf, giving them the
opportunity to express their priorities.
This year we are focusing our efforts
on Retail Banking in Todays World,
an ambitious, two-year programme
designed to transform the entire Retail
organisation into a modern banking
machine an organisation that bets
todays bank.
How do you work? We want to
ask each other this question to keep
the organisation on its toes, so that
we put our customers interests
rst in everything we do. The idea
is to check our actions against an
imaginary benchmark of customer
convenience. We really need to
do this in order to boost customer
satisfaction.
Were tackling issues simultane-
ously on several fronts: we are
innovating in the channels, introducing
a straightforward product range and
communicating clearly with customers.
Were trimming processes and bu-
reaucracy, as these only serve to annoy
customers and ourselves. Paperwork,
questions, complexity: who wants it?
Besides, the less time staff spend on
red tape, the more time theyll have to
give customers expert advice.
This past year weve shown the
world that were still in business. Now
its time to take the next step and
were taking that step with Retail
Banking in Todays World.
WERE TACKLING ISSUES SIMULTA-
NEOUSLY ON SEVERAL FRONTS
PAULUS ON RETAIL BANKING IN TODAYS WORLD:
Ten practice
grounds have
been created
where staf can
devise and test
improvements.
16
R
New website set to become
an electronic bank branch
CHANNELS
Rationale: customers can do their day-to-
day banking more and more easily over
the internet or on their mobile phones.
RETAIL BANKING IN TODAYS WORLD
T
hats the premise on which a new,
pioneering Channels initiative to
be carried out in 2011 and 2012 is
based. It also gives us a chance to
regularly show our customers how
innovative we can be, says Arjan van
Os, COO of Retail Change, who works
closely with Jessica Niewierra, Head of
Internet. The success weve had with
our bank balance app has really whetted
Meaningful and personal
MARKETING
Rationale: meaningful contact with
customers thanks to better leads and
improved marketing and advice, both
online and off.
O
ne of the products taking shape
as a result of the initiative
f ocusing on Retail Banking in
Todays World is the Financial Diary
launched this month, says Jim Kras,
Head of Marketing Intelligence. You
might think of it as an online house-
keeping book that lets customers easily
and efectively manage their income and
expenditure. Customer surveys show
Less paperwork,
more power
EMPLOYEES
Rationale: simplifying and
facilitating work at the branches
and at the CCC.
O
ur Todays Employee
programme is helping us
ensure that staf are better
able to provide efective, friendly
customer service, says Project
Manager Eric Mackor. Twenty-six
improvement projects were recently
designed, grouped into six specic areas
and given descriptive names like Useful
Systems, Simple Procedure, Improved
Becoming a new customer
in half an hour
PROCESSES
Rationale: awless, straightforward
and efcient processes for serving
customers quickly, simply and in one go.
U
pwards of 450 Retail processes
have been reviewed, from which
100 top-priority processes were
ultimately selected and distributed over
process chains such as Credits, Cash &
Cards and Wealth.Were determining
where processes can be simplied by re-
ducing the ow of paperwork and requir-
ing f ewer signatures, says Hans Jordens,
Manager of Retail Business Processes.
Less is more
A simple range of products
with terms and conditions in
plain language.
C
laire Dumas, Head of Insurance
Product Management, Tax-
Efcient Savings and Financial
Planning: Our goal is to reduce the pile
of papers customers need to wade
through by informing them of the
products terms and conditions in
concise, plain language. At the same
time, the bank is seeking to ensure price
transparency for its customers.
PRODUCTS
STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011 17
our appetite, so this summer, Direct
Channels is launching a payments app
for the iPhone, iPad and Android.
In addition, the rst release of a brand-
new version of the ABN AMRO website
is expected at the end of the year.
Were turning the website into a kind
of electronic bank branch, built on what
our customers want, says Arjan. For
example, it will provide new webcam
and chat-based options for customers
needing advice. At the moment, our
website actually still looks a lot like a
giant digital brochure stand with a
transactions section that customers
highly value. Were looking to integrate
this feature more tightly and develop it.
So will customers be able to purchase
more products online, like loans?
Denitely, but we cant do that until all
the back ofce processes have been
automated as efectively as possible.
Obviously, our aim is to use the new
website to provide more services to our
customers, such as activating or
reactivating debit cards online.
Developing these new online features
isnt easy, though, since issues like
security and customer identication are
complex, Arjan concludes.
that this is a task that 40% of all bank
customers do them selves, so we think
the Diary will provide a great service.
The new feature also lets customers
compare their nancial habits with
those of other consumers. In addition,
ABN AMRO will be launching a follow-
up product to the Personal Financial
Plan, says Nathalie ten Have, General
Manager of Preferred Banking.
The aim is to always give customers a
sense of recognition, no matter whom
theyve spoken to at a bank branch or at
the CCC. The new marketing initiative
also makes intelligent use of existing
customer information, which can result
in better leads. Jim says, If we know
that a particular customer is a teacher by
profession, we can make him an ofer on
a pension top-up if his pension fund,
ABP, has recently had bad press because
of poor investment performance. This
could be very meaningful to him.
Jim also has high expectations for
new technology. He says, Were work-
ing on proactive messaging to customers
via our mobile apps. Thanks to Retail
innovations like these, online banking
will become much easier and more
enjoyable.
Workplace, Stimulating Organisation
and Uniform On-boarding. Staf have
been asked what they would like to see
xed rst. Eric says, They want fewer
administrative tasks, more local power,
faster computers, more inuence on the
working environment, no more double
data entry for customer information,
and an easy-to-use portal that will allow
them to organise their day-to-day work
efciently. Were planning to introduce
some of these things already in the
coming months.
In the rst quarter, the focus is on
Powers Now, an initiative that will allow
managers and staf to weigh in more on
a number of issues. Project Manager Pe-
ter Koppenol says, By mid-February,
the things we will have addressed will
include broader scope to authorise
loans such as exible mortgages and an
easing of the compulsory identication
requirement for well-known customers.
Plus branches will now be able to
directly attend to a number of facility-
related issues themselves. Each branch
is being given a company card worth
EUR 1,000. The branches are also being
given more scope to adapt their opening
hours to the local market.
The very rst processes are being
overhauled at the end of the rst
quarter. From that point, signing on as a
new customer will take just thirty
minutes (a process that now requires an
hour on average) because fewer
signatures will be required and meas-
ures are being taken to reduce paper-
work. Hans says, New customers will
no longer be given thirty-nine pages to
take home with them, just three. Theyll
also be given the e.dentier straight
away, and theyll have immediate access
to Internet Banking. Only their debit
card will be sent to their home. New
customers will still have to visit a branch
to activate the card, but that, too, is set to
change at the end of the second quarter,
when a single telephone call to the CCC
will sufce.
Hans says another area in which
ABN AMRO is introducing intelligent
process improvements is Internet
Banking. Soon customers will be able to
open an additional current account or
transfer funds to a foreign currency ac-
count all via Internet Banking. The re-
sult is that were simplifying processes
within all the product chains and mak-
ing them more customer-friendly.
We are also seeing a far leaner range in
most product groups. Claire: The
Savings department blazed the trail by
cutting back its range from twenty to no
more than three savings products. At
Mortgages, too, the number of loan
repayment options has been reduced to
four: linear, annuity, interest only and a
mortgage savings scheme down from
twelve options in 2007. At Investments
we are examining whether we actually
need seven diferent concepts in todays
world, Claire went on to say, and in
the Loans business we are reviewing
our loan products. All these changes are
making it easier for our own staf to
recommend products and for our
customers to choose the product that
suits them best.
Interim Insurance Business Manager
Brigitte van den Brand (photo): We will
be including PC and valuables policies
as separate modules in our household
contents insurance policies, ofering our
customers a more streamlined product
range. We recently scrapped the Single
Premium Investment Policy, which had
reached the end of its shelf life. Custom-
ers wanting to invest their money now
opt for a mortgage savings scheme.
integration 18
STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011
The rst halfs over, the second
has only just begun
The media spotlight on the integration at ABN AMRO has dimmed. Its as if everything has been
completed. But were only halfway, says Harm Broers, the man in charge of the Central
Transition Ofce, outlining what was integrated and migrated in 2010. Hes now looking ahead.
P
eople on the outside think
weve nished and have passed
all the integration hurdles
simply because a lot happened in 2010,
like the legal merger on 1 July, a new
dealing room, Retails transfer to
ABN AMRO systems and a joint collec-
tive labour agreement, Harm explains.
Although these were undeniably
enormously important steps, we are not
there yet. In 2010 we nished the rst
half. Between Christmas and New Year
we had half-time. The second half
started in 2011.
Relatively simple
Support units like Finance and Risk
began preparing some customer
migrations in the weeks that followed
1 July 2010. But the rst entities to come
together in 2010 were the ones easiest to
integrate. Compliance, Legal and Audit,
for example, were joined together fairly
soon after the legal merger. The
integration of these entities was not
simple either, says Harm. But
basically it was a question of making
modications to processes and
procedures, running through a
resourcing process and then starting of
like an integrated club. Its obviously
far more complex to integrate entities
where customers have to be migrated.
Retail most difcult
By far the most difcult hurdle the bank
had to take in 2010 was the migration of
Retail customers. At C&MB Markets we
had to achieve integration by means of
separation, says Harm. We had to
import the accounting systems from
Fortis Bank Belgium and from RBS.
There were also a number of other
operations in 2010, like implementation
of the collective labour agreement.
11 November
Its going to be an exciting year in 2011.
A lot of hard work is being done to get
the client portfolios of Commercial &
Merchant Banking (Enterprises,
Corporate Clients and Large Corporates
& Merchant Banking) and MeesPierson
ready for the transfer to the ABN AMRO
systems. If everything goes according to
schedule, the migration will occur in a
single push on 11 November. Its a job
at least as complex as the one at
Retail, because it requires far more
customisation. This necessitates a big
communication efort that is already
underway. In the meantime there will
be intensive system tests by way of dress
rehearsals.
Next year
So whats the remedy? The bank
entities that went to Deutsche Bank
are still using ABN AMRO systems.
According to current planning we want
to migrate the client databases to the
Deutsche Bank systems in 2012, says
Harm. This will mark the end of a huge
operation and make the new bank ready
for the future.
T
E
X
T

A
N
D
R


W
E
S
T
E
R
V
E
L
D

P
H
O
T
O

R
O
N

O
F
F
E
R
M
A
N
S
The integration
will be completed
in 2012, making
the bank ready
for the future. Harm Broers
19 tops
STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011
How does TOPS work?
Almost three thousand TOPS employees had a fun introduction to the work their colleagues
do at other parts of TOPS. The TOPS Experience was organised from 18-21 January at
Gustav Mahlerlaan in Amsterdam and from 25-27 January on Coolsingel in Rotterdam.
In various sessions, Business Management, IT S&S, Security & Intelligence Management,
Facility Management, Procurement, COO and Operations NL + International staged presentations,
plays and quizzes to show how they put the client rst.
T
E
X
T

C
L
A
U
D
I
A

L
O
P
E
S

M
A
R
A
N
T
E

P
H
O
T
O
S

S
A
N
D
E
R

N
I
E
U
W
E
N
H
U
Y
S
The retired Star couple (in reality two employees of OPS NL) get a lot of enjoyment from the
work of Operations NL and Operations International.
Working together pays off! A prize from COO
was up for grabs for the fastest builders of a
duplicate hotel. It was a way for COO to
show how it can put the customer centre
stage by cooperating effectively with
business partners.
Run like mad at Business Management.
Dubious internet sites, skimming, GEA scams:
welcome to the world of Security & Intelligence Management.
operation 20
text Marijke Bakker & Joost Bruins
illustrations Shootmedia photos Ren ten Broeke
At the former ABN AMRO, procedures were so complex that loan applications
sometimes changed hands more than forty times. But at the new bank,
all that has changed. The result is short lines of communication and greater
responsibility for the branch network. Business loans and mortgages are rst
in line.
For the customer, of course!
Why are we doing this?
21
STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011
Business lending simplied
F
or business loans and mortgages,
the transition process has taken the
form of a project. The project
implemented specically for Enterprises
loans is called Clear and is nearly
complete. Danny Egberts, the original
project manager, has since moved on to
other things. Project manager Marinus
Broedelet and his right-hand man
Roland Thijssen will be wrapping up the
project in the spring. Both men look back
on the past year with satisfaction.
Why was Clear necessary? The
processing time for a loan application
regularly exceeded thirty days. Applica-
tions for customised loans would some-
times be transferred from department to
department up to forty-two times. Proce-
dures and systems were so complex that
initial processing was often incomplete,
and the application would then have to
be sent back into the system again,
Marinus remembers well. Roland adds,
Why Clear? Because the customer
asked for it, of course! All our consumer
surveys reected this need.
Approval diploma
One of the most important changes is the
decision to reintroduce loan approval
authorisation at the branches. Enter-
prises managers and senior relationship
managers are authorised to sign for
amounts up to EUR 1 million, covering
85 per cent of all business loan appli-
cations. In addition, special credit teams
have been formed. Over 100 members of
staf were required to earn an approval
diploma, and nearly all were successful.
The systems are also being modied, and
ve standard types of collateral have
been determined. Once Clear is wrapped
up and the systems of both banks are
fully integrated, the processing time for a
loan ofer will have been reduced to just
ve working days.
Combined forces
Marinus was responsible for the gradual
shift in mentality necessitated by Clear.
At Fortis Bank Nederland, managers
could sign for amounts of up to
EUR 750,000. Since the Without
Detours reorganisation, managers at the
former ABN AMRO focused exclusively
on sales. Consequently, front-line knowl-
edge was on the decline, as were overall
initiative and decisiveness. Competency
proles also placed an emphasis on
commerce. Changing that attitude and
behaviour was the most difcult thing
about this entire project. To create a cul-
tural shift, you need combined forces.
The whole bank has to change its behav-
iour. While loan approval and exams are
organised from above, behavioural
changes have to occur from the bottom
up, from the people themselves. Thats
why weve formed forty-seven credit
teams, one for each cluster. Each team
includes a manager from Enterprises,
Risk, Contracting and CLO Operations.
The idea is that the team members will
get to know and understand one another
and that theyll gain more insight into
their own role in the credit chain. Weve
carried out four initial pilot projects,
which have shown that people enjoy
working together and want to help one
another. In the past, it was easy to just
pass the buck, but now everybody wants
to be responsible as part of a team for his
or her own market segment. Roland
adds, The simplicity of the approach is
what makes it viable.
With the implementation of Clear, all
employee task specications have >>
Marinus Broedelet, Danny Egberts and Roland Thijssen
22 operation
STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011
COLLATERAL
Some types of collateral and certain provisions
are labour-intensive yet yield very little if the
loan cannot be repaid and the bank is forced to
sell the collateral in question. Using a limited
set of standard types of collateral and provi-
sions, bank representatives can draw up
simpler offers and speed up the loan process.
Obviously, we can still require other types of
collateral and stipulate other provisions in spe-
cic situations, examples being the pledging of
shing rights in the shing industry or a repur-
chase commitment in the supermarket sector,
says Credits Product Manager Chantal
Lammerse. A standard set allows the majority
of all business loan applications to be
processed within Enterprises.
KAM TO BECOME KEM
This will also have consequences for the credit
system. The old system, KAM, is on its last
legs. At the moment, bank representatives
who have sat down with a client and want to
make an offer have to start up multiple applica-
tions, says Project Manager Rim Grootmeijer.
Plus the range of options was too broad. The
KEM system incorporates the changes for
Clear, simultaneously remedying a variety of
shortcomings in the old system. From now on,
for instance, you can choose from ve types of
collateral in KEM. Offers are also structured in
a more straightforward way. Thats good for
the client and the advisor.
disappeared. One chain-related
specication does remain, however
a norm included in the PPP. If a team
performs well, this is reected in their
PPP remuneration. Marinus concludes,
I really believe in shared responsibility.
The every-man-for-himself approach
just wasnt working.
Staying one step ahead
of the customer
Edwin ten Cate felt like getting his
hands dirty again, so he was excited to
learn that, as from 1 July 2010, he was
being appointed Enterprises manager
with the Groningen NOZ cluster in
Winschoten (where one of the four pilot
projects was carried out), particularly
since loan approval was part and parcel
of his new position. Over the last few
years, Edwin headed up Cash
Management in Zwolle, yet he had rst
become acquainted with the credit
world during his years as an account
manager. It was all about generating
way too much paperwork, he says, and
naturally, this had an adverse efect on
customer satisfaction. It was frustrating
not only for clients but for me as well
because I always want to stay one step
ahead of the customer. If I promise to
have an ofer ready in a weeks time, I
want to be knocking on the door three
days later. As an account manager,
youre really in the ring line. Thats why
I very much wanted to be appointed
Enterprises manager then you can
approve loans yourself and manage your
own afairs. Now when I sit down with a
client, I can make an immediate
decision. In the past, this branch always
had to phone Zwolle, where they didnt
know the client or the market.
Cold sweat
When Edwin started his new job on
1 July, his superior, who was also
authorised to approve loans, had just
gone on holiday. So it was into the lions
den with Edwin. He says, At the
beginning, it was quite nerve-racking,
to be honest. Before, Id just submit the
application to the approving ofcer,
who would make the nal decision.
I approved my very rst loan application
in a cold sweat. You start of very
cautiously youre even stricter than
Risk. It all requires a lot of time and
efort. Standardisation inevitably also
costs jobs. Everybody knows or feels
that, and even now some people are
working on their own departure. But
people would also have had to leave if we
hadnt done anything at all. A major
advantage is that were granting more
loans, currently at an average rate of
eight to ten a day. And processing time
has been reduced to one to ve days.
Thanks to this, customer satisfaction has
increased dramatically. Edwins credit
team meets once a month to discuss best
practices, action points and current top-
ics. He says, In the past, we didnt know
one another. Now that we know the
score, its easier to shift gears quickly.
And thats good for the customer, but
good for us, too.
Clear will be concluded on 1 April.
Edwin ten Cate
23
STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011
YES!
Approved a loan at 11.15 am, received the offer
via email at 11.30, and emailed it to the client at
11.45. This is so great... Ive got that YES feeling
again! Martin Verhoeve (Wealth & Mortgage
advisor, Zwijndrecht)
Mortgages: Exciting right to the last minute
T
he former ABN AMRO mortgage
process was also ready for an
overhaul. The process could take
eight weeks simply because of the
number of times an application could
change hands. With the Fortis Bank
Nederland customer concept having
been chosen, that time span can be
reduced to two weeks.
Authorised representatives now see
it as a challenge, mainly because of the
new approval limit of EUR 1 million,
says Programme Manager Robert
Zoutendijk. For that reason, weve
prepared all the changes very carefully.
After completing a challenging training
programme, advisors started practising
with parts of the process, such as
assessing a valuation report. The new
working procedure went live at the end
of October 2010, and the relevant staf
were granted authorisation to approve
loans. Playing a coaching role based at
the head ofce, the advisors are now
learning the ropes. Eventually, but not
quite yet, individual performance will be
taken into account through a system of
rewards and penalties.
Knuckling down
No matter how thorough the preparation
was, advisors were still nervous about
approving loans. After all, when you
approve a loan, you take responsibility
and can be called to account. But the
initial nerves are starting to fade, and the
advisors are enjoying their work more
and more. Theyre also helping one
another. Just tick that box, and then it
should work. It takes some getting used
to, and theres a lot to learn. But the more
you do it, the better you get. Its just a
matter of knuckling down!
Knowing who youre dealing with
Have advisors become more cautious
now that theyre the ones approving
loans? Theyve become more selective,
Robert explains. For instance, they can
see if a customer is really interested in
reaching a deal or if he simply wants an
ofer quickly to be able to put pressure
on another party. Mortgage advisors are
also better at risk assessment. In the
past, an ofer would be drawn up, then
thrown over the fence to the mid-
ofce. But now advisors know who
theyre dealing with, since theyre in
direct contact with the client and all the
documentation. Its also the perfect
opportunity to carry out a risk
assessment, which is what advisors are
now doing.
So is everyone enthusiastic? At the
branches, denitely, says Robert, but
reactions at the ABN AMRO Mortgage
Group mid-ofce are also positive. Staf
here are shedding a portion of their
tasks. Theyre switching to the new role
of coach in an efective way and will be
assisting colleagues throughout the
country. Experienced credit acceptors
are also making multiple visits to the
branches every week. These are the
so-called Flying Squad, who are helping
the advisors to build up their knowledge.
So yes, its a real success.
Robert Zoutendijk
shipping 24
STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011
The Netherlands premier maritime bank
Inland Shipping, Offshore, Transport, Energy, Ports, Logistics and Shipping: these are the banks
multiple departments that work on maritime business. Until recently they operated independently
of each other in the market. All that is set to change with the advent of the Maritime Cluster.
T
he bank is involved in maritime
activities through several of its
businesses. Although every
business operates successfully, there was
little if any cooperation between them
until recently. Thats why we set up the
Maritime Cluster, explains senior
adviser Tjeerd Schipper. Weve reached
the stage where regular meetings and
seminars are attended by all maritime
disciplines and they maintain contact
with each other. In due course the goal is
to move a majority of the departments
closer together physically. Each
department will retain its own team and
concentrate on its own discipline. After
all, that is their strength. But there is
now an extra dimension: as the maritime
departments will inform each other of
what they are working on, they will
discuss sooner who can best deal with
certain business. T
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Best position
Gust Biesbroeck, head of Transportation
at Energy, Commodities & Transpor-
tation (ECT), gives an example: Say we
want to acquire a large shipping
company that has maritime entities in
which ECT is not interested. Previously,
the company would have ended up in its
entirety at ECT or at a Corporate Clients
Unit. Now, we work together to serve
every entity of the client from the best
place in the bank.
Maintenance
Why do we need a Maritime Cluster?
Firstly, because ABN AMRO and Fortis
Bank Nederland, which are both very
strongly represented in the maritime
sector, have become a single bank,
replies Gust. Its a good time to combine
our maritime strengths. We want to be
and remain the premier maritime bank
in the Netherlands, in the same way as
Rabobank is the leading agricultural
bank. The Dutch government and the
joint Dutch maritime industries recently
brainstormed to identify the importance
of the maritime market cluster to the
Dutch economy. The cluster includes
everything from builders of ships
engines to storage sheds, from
enter prises that make radar equipment
to companies that build ships. The
maritime market cluster has an
enormous diversity of shipping-related
activities. Because of its importance to
our economy the government needs to
conduct a purposeful policy to maintain
the cluster. It will keep the Netherlands
an attractive place for these business
activities. By optimising the use of our
in-house maritime knowledge, our bank
can do its bit to sustain the maritime
cluster.
25 credit cards
STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011
T
he employees of ABN AMRO
Consumer Finance (AACF) were
concerned about the integration
with International Card Services (ICS),
the many times larger credit card
company of Fortis Bank Nederland.
Their concern was entirely under-
standable, but unnecessary, says
Arthur Smolders, managing director
of ICS, sitting in his ofce in Diemen.
Since July 2010 we have been sharing
information and working together on
projects, like the prevention of fraud,
explains Nicolas Debaig, AACF director
and since January a member of the ICS
board. Were working in good
harmony.
LAT relationship
Weve had a living apart together
relationship for a while and were
becoming increasingly closer, says
Arthur about working together towards
a complete merger. Colleagues must
obviously change their place of work in
due course and a lot of hard work must
be done in the coming period to nd a
good place for everybody in the new
organisation, but it will not be at the
expense of jobs. We expect to have
something suitable for everybody and
were trying to create clarity as quickly
as possible, says the ICS director in
response to a question. Our work is
fairly specialised, so we want to retain
as many people as possible. Theres
not all that much knowledge of credit
cards in the Netherlands. On
completion of the conversion in
April 2012 there will be 70 new
jobs on balance.
Good marks
We were already market leader
with 2.2 million credit cards.
But the addition of the ABN
AMRO clients will increase
the gure to more than
3million, says Arthur,
explaining ICSs strong position.
Weve been working for years
with large partners like the Dutch
automobile association and De
Bijenkorf department store. A recent
survey conducted by the Consumers
Association conrmed their satisfaction
with the delivered performance. In the
December 2010 issue of the Geldgids
money guide, ICS cards occupied the
entire top 20 in the testing of security,
facilities, costs and service, getting sco-
res of 8.3 to 8.6. They are ne scores and
thats how Arthur and Nicholas want to
keep it. Its why they want to learn from
the present integration by examining the
experiences of other company entities. T
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Market leader in
credit cards
More than fty credit card employees of ABN AMRO
Consumer Finance moved to the International Card
Services ofce in Diemen back in March 2010. Once
the two businesses have fully merged, the new
company will be the unrivalled market leader in
credit cards. How does this mini-merger affect
staff and clients?
Nicolas: Were keeping a sharp watch
on developments at Retail to ensure that
our clients notice as little as possible of
the merger.
Military operation
All existing credit cards of customers of
Fortis Bank Nederland and ABNAMRO
will be replaced in phases in 2012. The
operation is being carried out with
military precision. Each day 30,000
cards will be replaced, and the operation
involves a total of approximately
850,000 credit cards. To minimise
inconvenience, customers will be able to
keep their existing PIN code, but will
also have an opportunity to opt for a new
one. Arthur: All old cards will gently
pass away in May 2012.
STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011 odds & ends 26
BANK LIFE by Peter van Straaten
COLLECTORS ITEM
Free art cards
Now that the banks have been
integrated, the same is going to
be done with their two art
collections. To illustrate literally
and guratively what a rich
compilation this will create,
the Art department commis-
sioned the production of a box
of cards. The rst one hundred
applicants will be sent a set.
Send an email to petra.
boogaard@nl.abnamro.com.
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Its every childs dream to become a world famous photo model one day. The dream came true for one hundred
children of the banks good business clients, when they were put in the spotlight during Kids Day, part of the
Amsterdam International Fashion Week. There was attention for their hair, cosmetics, styling and walking on
the catwalk. The climax was a fully-edged fashion show. Presenter Daphne Deckers (known from the TV show
Hollands Next Top Model) put the kids at ease by giving them simple instructions and encouraging words. The
children beamed - as did their parents in the audience.
AMSTERDAM INTERNATIONAL FASHION WEEK
Hollands Next Top Model
Very capable people with extra time on their hands, while theres too much work
to be done at other departments; staff who want to gain experience beyond their
jobs: for these people, the bank has introduced Smart Jobs, an initiative of Gerrit
Zalm. Managers can offer temporary positions on this platform, allowing staff to
make the most of their talent.
If you, as the CEO, propose a programme like this, you obviously need to believe
in it which is why Gerrit himself took on a Smart Job at Controlling Retail and
Controlling ALM on 3 and 4 February. Gerrit says it was a learning experience for
him too.
Sharing ideas with Smart Jobs
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GERRIT ZALMS INPUT
Lets not get our hopes up for .
27 kindred spirits
STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011
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ABN AMRO is a Dutch bank, yet with operations in almost thirty countries. As the bank is
set on following Dutch businesses across the globe, it will automatically become more international.
And so will its staff.
Wendy Stedehouder, Head of Business Control,
Clearing Chicago LLC
In Chicago I take my own sandwiches with me for lunch, two
brown-bread cheese sandwiches. They provide exactly the
nutrients I need to run a good marathon in Rotterdam later this
year. We dont have a staf restaurant at Clearing, so many
colleagues go out for lunch. I worked in Tokyo and Brussels
during my traineeship. The
international aspect always
attracted me. Despite all this I
ended up as a branch manager
at Breukelen, although I
thoroughly enjoyed my time
there. But if somethings in your
blood you go for it. So I
immediately applied when I
saw this job at Clearing. Ive been here since the summer of 2010.
I left everything behind to come here. I found it very difcult to
say goodbye to my people in Breukelen. But its an
enormous kick starting a new life all on your
own in a country where you dont know any-
body. I arrived here with nine boxes and a
pair of skis that are still in the cupboard,
unused. Within two months I had found a
nice little apartment on the banks of Lake
Michigan with a view of the Chicago sky-
line and had made some good contacts.
Literally and guratively I found my way,
cycling everywhere in my dress and high
heels. The thing I had to get used to
most was etiquette. Americans are far
more polite and friendly than we are.
Men still open the door for you,
women always come rst. Ill be
back in the Netherlands in
April to run the marathon
with a team of colleagues
from New York and
Chicago. Its terric to
ease into a diferent
culture, but your
own country
always beckons.
Charalampos (Harris) Pentotis,
Capital Management analyst
My dream has come true: I work for a bank and can nally put
what Ive learned into practice. I was thrilled to be able to start
here a job in the real world at last. I was raised in Greece. After
obtaining a Master of Finance in Athens I co-wrote a book
(Banking Economics), fullled my
military service, and accepted a job
with a pharmaceutical company
a nice job, but I was intent on
working for a bank. When I heard
about the Duisenberg School of
Finance I gladly seized the opportu-
nity to study there, which brought
me to the Netherlands in the summer of 2009. The bank
supports this programme, so I was taken on as an intern and was
later ofered a contract. Im a loner and have never felt lonely
here. The Dutch are always in for a beer.
Dutch food is greasy, but I like it
especially kroketten. Finding a
place to live wasnt easy. I now
share a at with two other people.
The language isnt a problem as
everyone speaks uent English,
but I want to learn Dutch because
Id like to stay here. I love my job and
the work-life balance is better
than it is in Greece. If you
work at a bank in Athens
youve got to work as hard
as they do in London,
but you get paid like
in Pakistan. The
Netherlands is a
meritocracy, unlike
Greece. As I couldnt
change the Greek
system, however much
I would have liked to, I
did what was best for
myself and left the
country. Im not
homesick, but I do
phone my mother
every day to hear
how my family is
doing.
A world of diference
Its an
enormous kick
starting a
new life all on
your own.
The Dutch
are always in
for a beer
GERRIT ZALMS INPUT
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Fashion designer Jan Taminiaus show
during the Amsterdam International Fashion
Week at the end of January sold out in just
one day. The shawl he designed specially for
female Preferred Banking clients was stun-
ning, but why does it have two holes in it?
How many banks do you bank with?
I opened an account at ABN AMRO when I
was just a child and have remained a loyal
customer ever since. But Ive done a lot of
work for Fortis Bank Nederland, including the
fasterclass a business and nancial training
programme for fashion designers. They
werent exactly very cheerful sessions, since
the aim was to get participants to face the
cold, hard facts. Im happy the new bank has
a fashion desk now, since it would be a real
shame if all that know-how were lost.
Has fashion made you rich?
No, but its made me happy. I enjoy creating
fashion and making women look more beauti-
ful. I also love the old-fashioned needlework
techniques I often use in my creations. I think
its important to uphold these traditions. Id ra-
ther make a dress with a thousand sequins
than sell a thousand T-shirts.
Did you always want to be your own boss?
I want to tell my story through my work.
Its about beauty, about how you should
treat other people and about quality. I make
beautiful things, and thats how I earn a living.
For me, creativity and business have always
gone hand in hand. I want the best dress
for your body. Thats what Im here for. Its
also important to remember that most
beautiful doesnt necessarily mean most
expensive. For example, I still make
very beautiful little jackets out of old
mailbags.
What makes your clothes so special?
Almost everything I make can be worn in
more than one way. My skirts can be folded
upwards and worn as a top. My trench coat
is made of three separate, interchangeable
parts. I try to achieve a kind of childlike
innocence in my designs. Children can put
on clothes in all kinds of ways without them
looking strange. Thats also why the shawl I
designed for the bank had two openings, so
that the person wearing it can tie a designer
knot in it. A lot of people didnt understand
that and phoned up in a huff over the holes.
I guess some people dont understand that
freedom.
Jan Taminiau creates about thirty designer dresses a year. He has three employees, including Toon, his left- and right-hand man. A woman ordering a single
dress should expect to attend ve ttings. A high point for Jan was after his show in Paris when some of the women in the audience were so moved that they came
backstage in tears.
Jan Taminiaus tradition
STAFF MAGAZINE OF
ABN AMRO 1 FEBRUARY 2011 the last word