Rabobank allocates extra money to improve anti-money laundering policy
Rabobank is allocating an additional 249 million euros to improve its anti-money laundering policy, in an effort to comply with instructions from De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB). According to the central bank, the money is needed to eliminate backlogs in customer surveys and monitoring transactions.
"We have already made many improvements, but there is still a lot of work to be done," says CEO Wiebe Draijer. He says 4,900 people are already working to combat money laundering, but he estimates that an additional 1,000 to 1,500 people will be needed this year. Rabobank will probably have to recruit a large part of this externally. An extra director will also be recruited who will deal specifically with this file.
The money-laundering rules have been causing problems for Dutch banks for years. ING and ABN AMRO both had to pay hundreds of millions of euros in settlements with the Public Prosecution Service (OM). Draijer cannot say whether such a monetary penalty also threatens Rabobank. "We don't know," he says.
Rabobank had not met the requirements for some time, and already had to pay a penalty of 500,000 euros. Rabobank subsequently announced in November that DNB would start an enforcement process because of the shortcomings in combating money laundering. The outcome of this is still unknown and Draijer did not want to offer any predictions about it.
The bank significantly increased its profits last year. It earned nearly 3.7 billion euros in profit, compared to 1.1 billion euros in 2020. Rabobank credited this profit jump mainly to the economic recovery. As a result, the bank was also able to release cash that had previously been set aside for imminent credit losses.
The bank has also made a provision of 333 million euros to offset variable-rate credit products. It was already known that Rabobank would come up with compensation for customers who have paid too much interest on loans in the past. Rabobank previously said that the scheme would probably involve around 100 million euros, but a more detailed calculation would follow later. "We have now been able to make a better estimate," says financial director Bas Brouwers.
Draijer warns that its economic outlook is still quite uncertain. The bank's customers are currently struggling with high energy prices and rising inflation, he explains. "In addition, Covid-19 is still around."
Reporting by ANP.