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World's best bank transformation 2016: ABN Amro

The Dutch bank’s return to private hands in late 2015 was the culmination of a huge restructuring operation that has created one of the most profitable and best capitalized institutions in Europe.

Awards for Excellence 2016

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 Also shortlisted:

 Access Bank

 Al Ahli Bank Of Kuwait

 Asia Commercial Bank


 Citadele Banka

 View full 2016 results

It is hard to exaggerate the extent of the tangled mess ABN Amro created after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. This was a big and complex institution, even before Fortis, RBS and Santander in 2007 agreed to buy it and tear it apart, just before the crisis hit. Then there was the bail-out, involving tens of billions of euros, multiple banks and multiple national governments.

It was many months before chairman-designate Gerrit Zalm could properly start work with a new management team and begin to build a new ABN Amro, one capable of surviving and thriving in a highly uncertain world. “It proved to be even more complex than I originally expected,” says Zalm, describing the job of remaking the bank after the crisis. “I came here at the end of 2008 and it took until April 2010, before the old ABN Amro was split up.

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