The Dutch group Rabobank has not found a buyer for Rabobank.be. The Belgian savings activities will therefore be discontinued. The savings accounts will be closed on 1 July 2022, the current accounts at a later date. Collective redundancies will follow for 53 people.
In March it was already announced that Rabobank wanted to stop operating as an online savings bank in Belgium. It was then considered whether the activities could be sold. But that turns out not to be the case. “Over the past few months, we have searched intensively but in vain for a suitable buyer,” the website states. “As a result, Rabobank Group has decided to discontinue the activities of Rabobank.be.”
The shutdown has consequences for 53 employees. The information and consultation phase that started at the beginning of March has been completed, the bank said in a press release. “The authorities involved (the Flemish employment agency VDAB and the federal public service Employment, Labor and Social Dialogue) were informed this week about Rabobank’s plans to proceed with collective redundancies.”
I am a customer, now what?
As for the customers, they will be the first to see their term accounts closed. This will take place on September 1, 2021. The customers will then be paid their deposit “plus the full interest that they would have received on the maturity date”.
The end of the Rabobank.be savings accounts will follow on 1 July 2022. At that time, the money in those accounts will automatically be placed on the current account. These will be closed at a later stage – “sometime after July 2, 2022”.
From 1 July this year, the interest on savings accounts will be set at the legal minimum of 0.11 percent. A “transition year” then starts, which must ensure that “all the loyalty premiums that have been built up to date are acquired”, it sounds in an email to the customers.
Customers can check on the website when they receive their loyalty bonus, so that they do not lose it. They can also close all their accounts online themselves.
In March it was said that the Rabobank.be savings accounts were just under 7 billion euros. At the end of last year, the bank had 228,000 customers.
“The termination has no consequences for the operation or safety of Rabobank or for your savings.”
High interest rates
According to the bank, the viability of Rabobank.be, which offered high interest rates for a long time, was jeopardized by “the combination of low debit interest rates, a strong inflow of savings in the Netherlands and cheap financing via the European Central Bank”.
The bank emphasizes that the termination “will have no consequences for the operation or safety of Rabobank or for your savings. Your savings are and will remain in good hands and are available at all times. Rabobank has excellent creditworthiness and will fulfill its legal and contractual obligations.”
Rabobank.be has existed in Belgium since 2002. The activities have been systematically scaled down in recent years. In 2018, for example, the investment products were taken over by Keytrade Bank, and the company accounts were closed in 2019.
Rabobank’s wholesale division (services for large companies) in Belgium remains active.
Rabobank also wants to get rid of its online savings branch in Germany. These are the last European countries where the bank is active as a savings bank for private individuals in addition to the Netherlands.