A world-wide local business: Rabobank
The Dutch bank has grown from its domestic agricultural roots to harvest the rewards of a global business.
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|“Pure lending is not a very differentiated business, but it becomes much more specialized and rewarding once you can combine it with other services”
High levels of protectionism and the strength of cultural issues have meant that the food and agricultural sector has largely remained the domain of specialized local banks in most parts of the world. But Rabobank, the third-largest bank in the Netherlands, has been uniquely successful in building up a global food and agriculture sector speciality business. The bank has its roots in agriculture. It was founded in the 1890s as the Dutch farmers’ co-operative bank and, although it has diversified into other areas, it still retains a 90% share of the Dutch market.
The bank has assets and commitments to the agriculture sector of about €70 billion. About 10% to 15% of the bank’s loan portfolio is devoted to the sector, which is significant given that agriculture today accounts for just 3% to 5% of most modern economies.