7. Complete customer focus

Keeping our customers satisfied is what our business is all about. And we can only achieve that by truly putting the customer first. In 2015, we have listened to our customers even better. Their opinion was often the starting point for the steps we took, the deals we made and the products we introduced.

In this way, we can live up to our name as a customer-focused cooperative bank with strong online and offline services for private individuals, home owners, entrepreneurs, farmers, startups and large businesses. We help customers and promote economic development with our financing solutions and by sharing knowledge and networks.

Satisfaction and trust

Our customers have high expectations of Rabobank. They want personal contact with engaged consultants, who think in solutions and who are ready to go the extra mile. They also expect a helpful bank in times of financial adversity. Transparent products and unambiguous conditions are also of great importance. In order to restore trust, we must live up to these expectations. In 2015, we made an important start in these areas.

Scores

In 2015, our Dutch customers' satisfaction (average of individuals, private banking customers and companies) increased to a mark of 7.7, compared to 7.6 in 2014 based on internal monitoring on a scale of 1 to 10. We note particularly that satisfaction with banking consultants strongly improved in 2015.

Customer Satisfaction
31-12-2015
2015
31-12-2014
2014
31-12-2013
2013
31-12-2012
2012
31-12-2011
2011
Private customers
Net Promotor Score
(NPS advisor)
33 17 12 - -
Customer Effort Score
(CES Day-to-day banking)
64 68 66 - -
Customer Advocacy Score
(CAS advisor)
76% 61% 59% - -
Satisfaction
with day-to-day banking
7.9 7.8 7.7 - -
Private banking
customers
Net Promotor Score
(NPS advisor)
37 29 20 - -
Customer Effort Score
(CES Day-to-day banking)
64 68 66 - -
Customer Advocacy Score
(CAS advisor)
81% 70% 64% - -
Satisfaction
with day-to-day banking
7.8 7.8 7.7 - -


We measure our customers' satisfaction internally based on the Net Promoter Score (NPS) about our advisors. We use the Customer Effect Score (CES) to gauge the ease with which customers can do business with us. And the Customer Advocacy Score (CAS) tells us the extent to which customers feel that we act in their interest.

Our research shows that the NPS for our advisors continued to show a strong increase in 2015. The CAS also continues its positive trend. Customers indicate that they are especially satisfied with advisors in terms of 'explanations', 'contributing ideas' and 'expertise'. The CES can fluctuate between -100 and +100. Our CES is high and has remained stable during the course of the year. Customers feel that their questions about day-to-day banking business are answered in a timely, effective and personal manner.

Customer feedback

Rabobank uses customer feedback to improve our services. For example, customers often indicate that there are areas for improvement in our communication. We are in the process of improving our communication to bring it in line with the customers’ situation. We will also communicate more clearly about what customers can expect and what they can arrange themselves. .

In the course of 2015, we saw a slight increase in customer satisfaction regarding handling of complaints. Over all of 2015, the satisfaction score was 7.5. Rabobank's target mark in this area is 8 or higher, so there is still work to do. We continuously implement improvements based on customer feedback. At the start of 2016, we increased transparency about complaint handling by publishing the improvements that have been implemented based on customer feedback on www.rabobank.nl.

Confidence Indicator

In 2015, the Dutch Banking Association (NVB) published the Confidence Indicator for Banks for the first time. The Indicator is an extensive study into the opinion of customers, complemented with figures from the regulator, AFM. The scores were as plain as day: general confidence in the sector was below par.

Read more about the NVB Confidence Indicator
(Note: this link is only available in Dutch)

Three main areas for improvement stood out in the NVB report: customer contact, handling complaints and dealing with mortgage payment arrears. In Rabobank's customer surveys, the same themes surfaced. Based on the NVB study results and recommendations from an independent advisory body, Rabobank focussed on these three areas for improvement in 2015.

- Customer contact
We are continuously personalising our digital tools so we can get an even better picture of our customers' financial situation and their preferences. We encourage customers, for example, to share more information in the Rabobank online mortgage file, which allows us to better understand their situation during the mortgage consultation. The new Rabo Banking App and our online banking are important tools bringing us closer to our customers.

Of course, we want to align our services with what is going on in the world. That is why we keep a close eye on trends. For example, savings are not providing high returns at the moment. Consequently, many Dutch consumers are considering investment opportunities. More than 80 local Rabobanks organised meetings in 2015 about 'The Sense and Nonsense of Investing', especially for customers who want to do more with their savings, but who are hesitant to take the step toward investing.

In the meantime, the need for transparency is growing among investors: they want to have more background regarding their shares and funds. Therefore, we expanded the Rabo Investment App in 2015 to give customers even more insight into their portfolio.

Furthermore, sustainable investing is becoming increasingly important. Customers who want more climate-friendly investments can express clear preferences for sustainable investing. In this way, Rabobank wants to provide a concrete response to concerns about climate change, and associated risks for investors.

Read more about our investing products
(Note: this link is only available in Dutch)

- Better handling of customer feedback
During 2015, Rabobank made it easier for customers to give feedback. The 'Contact' page on our website has been updated. Here, customers can submit complaints, tips or compliments online, which are automatically forwarded to the correct department. We analyse all complaints to learn and to improve our services. The focus is on a good conversation with customers, in which we listen to their side of the story. We then try to find the best possible solution to their problems.

- Help in times of financial adversity
Rabobank aims to prevent financial setbacks for its customers. That is why we do our best to forecast possible repayment problems effectively, so we can work together with customers to find solutions more quickly. We regularly approach our mortgage customers to check if they have financial peace of mind, or if they are worried about their financial situation. In case of setbacks, the bank offers help, for example through a personal finance coach. Meanwhile, we are working on better and clearer communication, so that customers know what to expect from us.

280 bedrijven zwaar weer

Businesses under stress

The Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) conducted an exploratory study in 2015 to see how banks deal with SME customers under special asset management, the department that supports companies with repayment problems. It concluded that there were no structural problems at the four large Dutch banks. However, the regulator emphasised that the information sharing and contact with customers required improvement.

Read more about the AFM study
(Note: this link is only available in Dutch)

Rabobank has been working for some time to improve working methods and communication related to special asset management. By listening to the customers, taking the (sometimes harsh) criticism seriously and by adapting our policy accordingly, we have taken more important steps in 2015. In our communication, we provide a clearer explanation of the process. We also deal with the emotions that accompany these processes.

In 2015, we organised various 'feedback meetings', in which we spoke with entrepreneurs who are experiencing financial difficulties. We improved our complaints procedure, published a brochure about the special asset management department, and made a film in which entrepreneurs talk about their experiences with special asset management. Our corporate website, www.rabobank.com, contains various real-life stories.

Furthermore, we had a round-table discussion with members of the Dutch Lower House of Parliament about special asset management, and, together with the other banks within the Dutch Banking Association, we have drafted a guideline for special management.

The goal of special management is to help companies with financial difficulties to recover, in the interest of the customer and the bank.

Read more about Customers in trouble

Interest rate derivatives

Approximately 8,000 of the 800,000 Rabobank business customers in the Netherlands have an interest rate derivative. This is a derivative financial product with which interest rate risks can be hedged. The bank performed a reassessment of interest rate derivatives in 2014 and 2015. During the course of 2014, Rabobank enhanced the quality requirements for the reassessment of interest rate derivatives, partly in response to a request by AFM. The individual reassessment of the 8,000 interest rate derivatives was mostly completed by December 2015 as agreed with AFM. Over 90 percent of the outcome of the reassessments was communicated to our customers by letter by the end of 2015. The rest followed in January 2016.

In December 2015, Rabobank took note of the conclusion of the AFM that the reassessments of the interest rate derivatives by the banks was insufficient and that it had found shortcomings in its own criteria for the reassessments. Rabobank is currently working with the AFM on an appropriate solution for the situation.

Online banking

customer focus online banking

Rabobank is committed to the digitisation of financial services. More customers use their mobile phones or tablets for banking. Contact with bank employees is frequently via chat. Rabobank achieved improvements, growth and innovations in the digital services area in 2015.

Click on the image to see the full infographic
Infographic online banking

New app: recovering after criticism

In 2015, Rabobank introduced the new Rabo Banking App to Dutch customers. In a short time, more than 1.5 million Dutch customers (individuals and businesses) switched to this updated version of the app.

During the development process, we spoke with 1,500 customers at 11 local banks about their wishes. We used their feedback, but unfortunately, the Rabo Banking App launch was not all smooth sailing. We received criticism from several different angles.

Some customers needed to grow accustomed to the new design, whereas others simply did not like it. New functionalities, such as transaction searches and fingerprint payments, were high on customers’ wish lists. Some important improvements were already implemented in 2015, such as transaction searches, a different account overview and insight into capital investments. This development will continue in 2016, and will be based on customer feedback.

The new app is literally and figuratively focused on the customer. After logging in, customers see their own picture in the middle of the screen, surrounded by account information. With one push of the button in the new app, they can contact an employee of their own local bank, via chat, email or phone. Furthermore, customers gain more insight into their finances, can easily do their banking, and can even specify names for their accounts.

Read more about the Rabo Banking App

Chat takes flight

On www.rabobank.nl, chat had been possible for some time. But in 2015, an even larger public became acquainted with this accessible way of getting personal advice. The chat function in the app has been a downright hit. Every day, around 6,000 chats take place, with a positive rating by 89% of our users. Customers use the chat function especially in the evening. In this way, the bank is only 'one touch away'.

Read also: Customers embrace virtual banking

Through the years, Rabobank has introduced many innovations. Check out the infographic: from the 70s till now.

Click on the image to see the full infographic
infographic

Online solutions for entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs can now carry out more banking activities via their mobile phones, whenever it suits them best. In 2015, we again added numerous functionalities to our online services, such as the ability to request lease products and financing, open savings accounts and submit annual results.

Since 2015, Dutch entrepreneurs who wish to check how realistic their business plan is can use the financing indicator on www.rabobank.nl. Entrepreneurs answer a couple of questions about their plan and enter financial indicators. The programme uses this information to provide an indication of whether – and how – the plan can be financed. The programme will also provide several possible financing options from Rabobank, our partners and government-related regional parties. This means that entrepreneurs will be well prepared when they come to the bank.

We introduced Rabo SmartPin, an innovative app allowing PIN payments at the front door. This changes a window cleaner’s or a mobile hairdresser’s smartphone or tablet into a mobile cash register. The app registers cash payments, calculates change and keeps track of daily turnover.

Read more about online banking

rabo-wallet

Rabo Wallet: contactless payments

In February 2015, we introduced the Rabo Wallet, a digital wallet that allows our Dutch customers to pay in shops with their smartphones. They simply touch a device at the checkout with their mobile phone. They no longer need to enter a PIN code. The Rabo Wallet also allows them to check their bank balance and to load loyalty cards. At the end of 2015, this app was available on three popular Samsung models. In 2016, we will expand this service, so that many more customers will be able to use it.

Because most mobile phones are not yet suitable for Rabo Wallet payments, in 2015 we also added a chip to many of our debit cards to enable contactless payments. Around 1.8 million customers now have such a card, which allows them to pay amounts up to 25 euro without entering a PIN number. Approximately one-third of all payment terminals in the Netherlands are already suitable for contactless payments.

System availability

The vast majority of our customers do their banking online. That is why the availability and stability of our online systems is extremely important. We do our utmost to guarantee the availability of banking via internet, mobile phone and Rabophone. We do not always fully succeed, but the improvements that we implemented in 2015 have paid off. The number of outages decreased from 152 in 2014, to 84 in 2015. Availability levels were up compared to 2014.

Availability:

2015
2014
Internet banking 99,8% 98,9%
Mobile banking 99,8% 99,0%
Rabophone 99,8% 99,7%

We publish monthly availability figures on www.rabobank.nl. We also publish the figures for internet banking and mobile banking on the Dutch Payments Association website. Maximum availability remains our primary goal. In order to achieve this, we will continue to invest in systems and in the knowledge and expertise of our employees in 2016.

Fraud

Cybercriminals continue to try to commit fraud via internet banking. We note that criminals have started to pay more attention to business clients. We receive many customer reports about internet scams and invoice fraud. Damage levels were stable due in particular to our fraud detection measures and implementation of the Rabo Scanner (the successor of the Random Reader, the device with which customers can log into online banking). Internationally, the damage caused by fraud attempts on our internet channels is marginal.

Rabobank's Security Operations Centre has seen a large increase in the number of attacks on the bank's own infrastructure. We see cybercrime as a permanent and increasing threat. This is a direct consequence of society's increasing digitisation. By acting prudently and investing in a timely manner, we can tackle the threats.

Privacy

Customer and employee privacy, and the security of personal data, are very important to Rabobank. We process personal data in accordance with the Personal Data Protection Act and other applicable privacy legislation and regulations. We have a worldwide mandatory internal privacy policy for both customers and employees. This policy applies to all business units over which we have more than 50% control. Within the bank, the Chief Privacy Officer acts as an independent official. The CPO supervises compliance with the privacy requirements and the maintenance of a good balance between those requirements and all other legislation and regulations.

Customised solutions for wholesale clients

We introduced a new online environment for corporate banking in 2015: Rabo Corporate Connect. This is designed for our wholesale clients whose turnover is EUR 30 million to 250 million, and our large corporate clients whose turnover is more than EUR 250 million.

Via this portal, clients can access their accounts and payments, as well as an overview of interest rate and currency positions, price information and other relevant information. The platform is aimed at clients who are located in the Netherlands, are internationally active or have complex product requirements. For instance, transport companies, retailers, food companies and temporary staffing agencies. Rabobank is the first major Dutch bank to offer financial insight and overviews on a single corporate client platform.

Read more about Rabo Corporate Connect

High scores for direct banking

We also devote a great deal of attention to our online banking services outside the Netherlands. For years now, our internet savings bank RaboDirect has maintained a daily relationship with international savings depositors solely via email, online media, social media and telephone. But how do you establish a good customer relationship without any physical contact? Through excellent customer service, accessible websites, good availability and clear communication. RaboDirect operates successfully in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

In 2015, our online savings banks again achieved very good scores. A random sample of a thousand RaboDirect Germany customers showed that 94% are satisfied with the online services. RaboDirect Ireland was even named one of the most popular brands in the country. In particular, we have received compliments for user-friendliness, the human tone of voice and clear explanation of financial questions.

Read also: Loyal customers despite limited contact

Nearby bank

Our customers increasingly use online banking. This means fewer customers are physically visiting branch offices.

Therefore, Rabobank has closed many branches in the Netherlands over the past few years. Personal contact with employees is decreasing, and we expect this trend to continue in the near future. However, we still want to get closer to customers in various ways:

  • socially: as an engaged bank that customers can rely on;
  • online: via smart technology that allows customers to bank quickly and easily;
  • personally: through engaged advisors who help customers during crucial moments.

In 2015, we started new initiatives to emphasise our local engagement. Advisors from approximately 30 Rabobanks visited customers who find the distance to the branch too far, or who are less mobile due to a handicap. The visits were free of charge. The visits took place in the customer's home, in the hospital or at a different location.

Many banks organise walk-in hours, for example at assisted living centres, libraries or doctors’ offices. If customers are unable to independently take out cash from an ATM, Rabobank delivers cash to their homes.

In 2015, multiple banks established 'Regional Teams', consisting of employees who have lived and worked in the same area for years. They not only act as advisors, but are also in touch with the local council or with local special interest groups, for example. This adds a more personal touch in the local areas, and shows our involvement in the local community.

In 2016, Rabobank will continue to invest in various new forms of contact, as a supplement to existing branches. For instance, mobile advice, pop-up stores and advice at home.

Read more about Rabobank's social role in the chapter Meaningful cooperative

Mortgages

Increasingly, customers looking for a mortgage know how to find us online. Within the Rabobank Mortgage File, a component of www.rabobank.nl, customers can choose a mortgage, and can calculate how much they can borrow and how high the monthly payments will be. If they upload the necessary documents and data to the system in advance, they receive a discount on their consultation with the bank. In 2015, 1.1 million customers used the Mortgage File, and more than 150,000 online Mortgage Files have been shared with Rabobank.

In 2015, it became possible to start an online chat with an employee in the Rabobank Mortgage File. This allows us to immediately answer many of the questions that arise during the online process. Every week, more than a thousand chats take place. Research shows that customers value our high availability, as well as the speed and quality of the answers. At the start of 2016, we introduced video chat, so customers and consultants can also see each other during the chat, which makes contact a lot more personal.

Meeting within 24 hours

Research showed that many customers were unhappy about the duration of our mortgage process: it would take a long time before calls were returned and it was difficult to make appointments. Based on these complaints, Rabobank decided to make drastic changes in 2015. We have promised Dutch mortgage customers: 'Call today, meet tomorrow'. We have been trying to live up to this pledge since 1 June 2015. Honouring this pledge is a challenge, but we have set the bar high on purpose. At the start of 2015, we managed to arrange an appointment within one day in 41% of the cases. By the end of 2015, this had risen to 74%.

Read the story and watch the video about the mortgage for our customers Felie and Bart

Mortgage for flex workers

It should be easier for flex workers or freelancers to obtain a mortgage. This was the starting point for our subsidiary, Obvion to join a trial with temping agency Randstad and housing interest group Vereniging Eigen Huis at the end of 2013. In 2015, Rabobank joined this initiative, together with other banks and financial institutions. The idea of the mortgage for flex workers is income security should be considered instead of job security as the basis for granting a mortgage. This gives flex workers the possibility of obtaining an appropriate mortgage.

Interest rate averaging available for mortgage customers

Customers who wish to amend their interest rate contract can use interest rate averaging without a penalty as of 1 July 2016. The mortgage interest rate and the remaining duration of the customer’s interest rate contract at that time are averaged with the current fixed interest rate and the duration of the customer’s choice. This service is aimed especially at customers who do not have the means to pay the penalty interest all at once.

Small- and medium-sized enterprises

Rabobank wants to be a reliable partner for Dutch entrepreneurs. We want to help clients to achieve their ambitions. Rabobank offers various options for every client with a sound business plan. We offer not only appropriate products, but we can also make valuable connections with investors, and collaborate on initiatives that make the life of an entrepreneur a bit easier.

active ants

Financial linking pin

The best solution for company financing is not always a traditional bank loan. The role of private investors is growing. Last year, Rabobank organised seven 'Meet & Grow' meetings, during which entrepreneurs could become acquainted with local sources of funding. We have also taken note of the crowdfunding phenomenon, and we act as a partner for the comparison website Fundipal, which helps entrepreneurs to find crowdfunding initiatives that best match their business.

Read more about Meet & Grow

Extra money, less interest

Many entrepreneurs could use a helping hand. That is why we signed an agreement in 2015 with our leasing subsidiary DLL and the European Investment Bank, to give more support to Dutch companies. Thanks to our credit facility, 400 million euro in total will become available. This money will be divided between approximately 300 companies that will receive an interest rate discount on their financing. This facility is meant to stimulate Dutch businesses that need investment for further development. The total amount will be split between Rabobank and DLL, each of which will lend EUR 200 million.

'The New Shopping Street'

Changes in buying behaviour, increasing competition and lack of competitive edge are impacting the Dutch retail sector, and therefore shopping areas and town centres. Together with the platform 'The New Shopping Street', we are searching for solutions to these problems. As an example, we conduct discussions with retailers, restaurants and bars, property owners and local councils. Currently, 50 of our local banks support these meetings.

Read also:
A silent revolution right on the shop's doorstep
'The New Shopping Street' makes shopping fun again

Insight for entrepreneurs

Through our Rabo Knowledge App and the website Cijfers & Trends, we provide Dutch entrepreneurs with continuous insight into current developments in their sector. In the Benchmark Tool, business clients can compare their own financial performance with that of their fellow sector members. Furthermore, we discuss sustainability performance with our larger business clients, share our relevant knowledge and to support them when they take the next step.

Read more about sustainability in the annual report

We offer startups a website full of tips: www.ikgastarten.nl (only in Dutch). In 2015, this page had approximately 130,000 unique visitors per month. We are a partner in the online platform www.Port4Growth.nl (only in Dutch), which is aimed at knowledge exchange between entrepreneurs.

Customers wishing to improve their business skills can follow a 'Mini Master Class' at their local bank. For young farmers taking over the family business, Rabobank introduced the Successor Perspective. This tool offers the successors opportunities for personal and professional development in the years prior to the take-over.

Read more about startups

Food and agribusiness

Common sense and business instinct come naturally to Rabobank. For years now, the breadth of our customer portfolio in food and agribusiness worldwide has been unrivalled. We have by far the most clients in the Dutch food and agribusiness and SME sectors. We happily share our vast amount of valuable knowledge of these markets, as well as our networks with our clients. In this way, we help clients to do smarter business and make a greater contribution to the economy.

'Banking for Food'

Will we have enough food in the coming years to feed all the people on the planet? This question is relevant to all of us. The world population is growing and becoming more prosperous. As a result, the demand for food will grow by 60% by 2050. Food and agribusiness supply chain entrepreneurs have to produce more, with fewer raw materials. That is the only way to ensure sustainable food production and a healthy long-term economy.

'Banking for Food' is Rabobank's vision on food security and the bank's role in that respect. We combine our extensive knowledge of food and agribusiness, our worldwide network and our customer service. We serve the entire food chain: from smallholder farmers to mega businesses, from kitchen tables to boardrooms, from horticulturists to supermarket chains. Our specialists share their sector knowledge, advisory strength and problem-solving approach with our customers in more than 40 countries.

Tasty figures

Rabobank has a strong position in both food-producing areas ('food bowls') and food-demanding areas ('food hubs'). Out of the 20 international dairy corporates, 17 are Rabobank clients. This is also true for 18 of the 25 top players in the global beverage industry, and 14 of the international top 20 businesses specialising in meat and fish. The top feed businesses also bank with us. Rabobank is the only bank in the world to have valuable knowledge about all food and agribusiness sectors.


Knowledge exchange

We continuously expand our knowledge about the food chain through contacts with clients and special interest organisations. In 2015, for example, we announced a collaboration with UC Davis, an agricultural university in California, to exchange knowledge and do collaborative research. We cemented our collaboration with the Nuffield Farmer Scholarship. This Australian institution wants to make the agricultural sector more dynamic and innovative. Nuffield offers experienced farmers the chance to thoroughly study an important topic. This starts with a study grant, but Nuffield also opens all the doors to relevant businesses, experts and knowledge centres. Rabobank shares our knowledge as part of this process. The results of these studies are shared with a broad audience in reports and presentations.

boer wordt wijs op reis

Rabobank often organises local and regional knowledge sharing and networking meetings, but there are also programmes with participants from all corners of the world. Since 2012, we have brought more than 150 farmers from various countries together in the Global Farmers Master Class. Furthermore, we share knowledge about sustainable food and agribusiness chains that we gather at Round Table meetings and in projects in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Read more about:
The Global Farmers Master Class
The Round Tables and the World Nature Foundation in the annual report

In Australia and New Zealand, more than 500 farmers have participated in the Rabobank Executive Development programme since 1999. In the Netherlands, more than 1000 young farmers have completed the training programme for business successors in Rabo Successors Perspective since 2007. And in 2015, 60 young Brazilian farmers participated in the Rabobank AgriLeaders programme in Brazil, which started in 2007.

Read more about our knowledge exchange

As a cooperative, we believe in the power of collaboration. That is why we bring partners in the food and agribusiness sectors together and make our networks available to accelerate development. We also have frequent conversations with clients from the fishing industry who can take advantage of opportunities through more collaboration with traders and processors.

The Netherlands

Within the Dutch food and agribusiness sectors, we use our knowledge and networks to help farmers with their opportunities and challenges. For example, greenhouse horticulture is struggling. To realise necessary improvement, grower's associations, the government and Rabobank have collaborated since 2015. This coalition is working on the obstacles in the sector and hopes to turn it around within a few years. In particular, the market position, infrastructure and logistics will need a complete overhaul.

The dairy sector is also faced with an enormous challenge. Global demand for dairy is growing steadily at 2.5% per year, because of rising new markets in Asia and Africa. Local dairy farmers cannot meet the demand, which means export opportunities for Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Rabobank does business with dairy entrepreneurs worldwide and shares our knowledge at all levels. We advise Dutch farmers about the opportunities offered by this situation.

The response of Rabobank’s Food and Agribusiness researchers to developments in the poultry-, pork- and dairy-farming sectors was that Dutch livestock farmers can retain their international top position if they aim for quality and sustainability while deal with price movements.

Read more about food and agribusiness

Wholesale

As a leading wholesale bank in the Netherlands, we serve wholesale clients in all sectors. Outside the Netherlands we are focussed on food and agribusiness. We serve the entire chain, from farm to plate. We also support our Dutch customers with suitable products and services when they take the step towards the international market. Through our international network, knowledge and expertise, we stimulate the qualitative growth of businesses and contribute to the earning capacity of the Netherlands.

Some examples from 2015:

Vliegwiel Driving force in Finnish wind turbine deal

Driving force in Finnish wind turbine deal
The financing of a large wind farm is often a complicated puzzle, involving many parties and interests. Thanks to our knowledge, expertise and insight, Rabobank regularly plays an important role in solving the financing issue. This was also the case for a recent deal in Finland where 11 wind turbines of more than 100 metres tall will be built in 2016.

Read more

Sustainable energy: powering ahead


In 2015, we invested EUR 3.2 billion in sustainable energy. Rabobank is the market leader in financing wind turbines in the Netherlands, and number 1 in financing sustainable energy in the U.S. and Canada. Worldwide, we are number 10 in financing sustainable energy, according to the Bloomberg New Energy Finance League Table.


Building bridges in Sri Lanka

Building bridges in Sri Lanka
Through our network of local, customer-focused teams, we combine our knowledge of corporate financing with the knowledge of our local banks. This is how Rabobank was able to alert bridge company Janson Bridging to the Sri Lankan government’s programme '1000 Rural Bridges'. The programme was aimed at opening up rural areas to increase local prosperity. This ultimately led to a deal for Janson to build 500 bridges locally, supported by local partners and subcontractors.

Read more

Small country with enormous export

The Netherlands has a small, open economy with a strong export and import position. A large portion of our customers’ opportunities and prosperity are dependent on growth elsewhere in the world. Currently, approximately 200,000 companies in the Netherlands are internationally active and more than 25% are Rabobank clients.


Unlocking the sea ports of the future

Unlocking the sea ports of the future
500 metres tall, 70 metres wide and 18 metres deep. These are the impressive dimensions of the largest sea lock in the world, which will be built in IJmuiden in the coming years. The new lock ensures that the Amsterdam harbour remains accessible to a new generation of ships, as well as boosting economic growth and employment in the surrounding region.

In 2015, Rabobank was the sole Dutch bank involved in the financing of this leading project with international allure. The financing of the project was based on a public-private collaboration where government and businesses work together on large-scale building projects.

Read more

Mergers, acquisitions and flotations

Rabobank also advises on mergers, acquisitions and stock market flotations. Our international specialists in this area have supported a number of leading transactions in 2015, such as the sale of a minority interest in Hendrix Genetics to NPM Capital, the sale of mail-order firm Wehkamp to the private equity business Apax, the acquisition of the Brazilian Nova Agri by the Japanese Toyota Tsusho group, Ahold's acquisition of the supermarket chain SPAR’s Czech activities, the sale of the Indonesian Poliplant Group to Cargill, and the initial public offering (IPO) of the quintessentially Dutch beverage business Lucas Bols.

Innovation

Customer wishes and needs are changing quickly, requiring continuous innovation of products and services. Rabobank wants to provide excellent customer service and to be a front runner in the innovation of its own services provision. Innovation allows us to reach these goals and to quickly capitalise on opportunities in the market.

That is why innovation is higher on the agenda than ever before. Since 2015, we have an Innovation Board with participants from all parts of the bank. The board is stimulating and accelerating innovation across the group in economic, technological and social areas.

The new nearby

To ensure that customers can do more and more themselves, we are improving current processes with 24/7 digital availability. Digitisation leads not only to standardisation, but also to far-reaching opportunities for personalisation. We therefore closely follow developments and trends outside the bank to take advantage of digital improvements. We are nearby in a new way.

Through events such as Food Bytes, we bring 'agri-tech' start-ups in contact with large agribusiness and food companies looking for innovation. This also helps our clients to innovate.

Read also: More data, more food

Contributing to society

An innovative idea can be the driving force behind the economy, or can stimulate job creation. That is why Rabobank supports new entrepreneurs with knowledge, money and networks.

An example is our support for Yes!Delft, an initiative of Delft University of Technology and a hotbed of entrepreneurs. Students and former students have access to various facilities at the technical university, including a 'clean room', a wind tunnel and several labs. Around 100 businesses have joined the project to date.

We are regularly inspired by entrepreneurs' fresh plans for the future of the banking industry, and we like to collaborate with them. An example is our collaboration with Fundipal, a comparison site to help starting entrepreneurs choose the correct crowdfunding platform.

Since 2015, we have been a partner in Facturis. This company can digitise all incoming and outgoing invoicing and payment streams from businesses. This often makes financial logistics much less expensive and more efficient, while companies gain more insight and control.

More often, we collaborate with acceleration programmes for startup companies, such as Startupbootcamp, Rockstart and Investment Ready. These programmes allow both us and our clients to innovate, for example in Nijmegen through Rockstart's Health programme, where we match interesting startups with large organisations. We also award various yearly innovation prizes to give forward thinkers a helping hand.

Encouraging our own people

Within our organisation, we challenge employees to share and develop their innovative ideas. To stimulate innovative thinking, we organise internal competitions and creative sessions. During hack-a-thons, groups of developers come together to build solutions for the bank in a short period of time.

Within the bank, we have held two 'Moonshot' campaigns, during which innovative colleagues share their ideas to make the bank more innovative. They compete for budget, time and space to develop their ideas.

In December 2015, the two winning concepts of the first campaign were developed into products: GRPPY app (group pay) is a mobile app enabling groups to divide a bill, for example in a bar or restaurant. The other winning concept, Fync introduces a new and simple way for independent business owners and freelancers to deal with their financial accounting. Fync offers banking and bookkeeping in one. The winning ideas from the second campaign are now developing their concepts for the bank.

Customer focus

Customers hardly ever visit bank branches because they do most of their banking digitally. This makes it difficult for banks to be nearby and involved. How can Rabobank stand out from the competition and increase customer satisfaction?

Rabobank wants to be the most customer-focused bank in the Netherlands, and wants to be even closer to customers in the coming years. The traditional way of banking, namely a conversation where customer and advisor can look each other in the eye, remains important to us. However, this form is becoming less common because customers are choosing to arrange their own banking matters online more than ever before.

We make digital banking as easy as possible, through user-friendly and personal applications. We offer online customers more insight into their finances. In the near future, we will also alert customers to relevant developments in their personal situation.

If customers need help, the online environment usually provides quick access to the appropriate bank employee who knows the answer to the question. In this way, as a bank we are always 'one touch away': we can quickly and easily help customers via chat, email or telephone.

Furthermore, we invest in committed specialists who help customers with more complex questions or customer groups such as entrepreneurs and high net-worth customers. Rabobank remains visible through local branches, where we look for concepts that fit in with the local environment. These can be at our own offices or at shared or temporary locations. We visit customers at home or at a different location of their choice. Rabobank continues to build on our local entrepreneurship and orientation in the local market. We know our customers, we know how they live and work, and we know what is going on locally.

Expert knowledge is essential, but we expect even more from our employees. They must think ahead and imagine themselves in the customer’s situation. We continuously monitor employee performance. After every contact with an employee, we ask customers for feedback, both positive and negative. We assess advisors based on these results, and we immediately offer points for improvement. Local banks challenge each other to increase customer satisfaction. As a result of this focus, our NPS has doubled.